Lot: 301

Twin figure "mpundu"

D. R. Congo, Tabwa

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Marc Leo Felix, Brussels, Belgium (FC 3289)
Galerie Fred & Jens Jahn, Munich, Germany
German Private Collection (1984)
Lempertz, Brussels, 22 January 2013, Lot 163
H: 7.7 inch 2000 EUR / 3500 EUR

wood, kaolin, base A comparable figure can be found in the holdings of the Ethnological Museum Berlin and was collected by Lt. Glauning, around 1900 at Moliro. Another in the Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium and one in the Musée de l' Homme, Paris (cf. Roberts, 1985, No. 189, No. 190 and No. 193) According to the Tabwa people, twins are rare and special beings who are sent to earth to keep peace between humans and nature. When a twin dies in infancy, he/ she is memorialized in a carved wooden statue "mpundu," like this one. The Tabwa people do not mourn dead twins because they believe the twins have "returned home". They care for the twin figures with love and respect. When the surviving twin is old enough to walk, he or she takes over the care of the statue, signifying that even in death twins remain connected.


Roberts, Allen F. & Evan M. Maurer (ed.), Tabwa, Washington D.C. 1985
Neyt, Francois, Les Sculptures Miniatures du Zaire, München 1984, p. 36