Lot: 199

Grave figure "ntadi" in reflective posture ("fumani")

D. R. Congo, Lower Congo province / Northern Angola, Bambona

Provenance Size Hammer price
Gottfried Künzi, Oberdorf / Solothurn Switzerland
Arnold Bamert, Solothurn, Switzerland (1967 or 1970)
Walter Stanley Schwab, Murten, Switzerland ("WS 555") (2005)
H: 16.1 inch sold

steatit (soapstone), missing part (head ornament), base These stone sculptures are idealized portraits and were placed on the graves of highly respected people. They are known as "bitumba" (sing. "tumba"). They are considered the seat of the dead spirits, who offered protection and are called "ntadi" (pl."mintadi"). The posture of the figure, the head resting on the left hand, the right hand resting on the hips are characteristic of these figures. It is intended to symbolize the wisdom of rulers who weigh carefully before acting and rethink the situation. The figure wears a necklace and a headdress with four leopard claws. Both indicate that it was the leader of a lineage or clan.


Allison, Philip, African Stone Sculpture, New York 1968, p. 42 ff. Verswijver, Gustaaf & Els de Palmenaer u. a. (Hg.), Afrikanische Kunst, München, London, New York 1998, p. 15, ill. 1

ADHRC: 0170826