Lot: 285

95th Tribal Art Auction

Artistically engraved calabash

D. R. Congo, Pende

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Alex Arthur, Brussels, Belgium H: 10.2 inch 1200 EUR
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

pumpkin, kaolin, fire blackening, wood, labeled "gabuku", "pumbu" and "mwawa" This calabash is published in Léon de Sousberghes most famous work "L' Art Pende" (1958, p. 167, Fig. 1). He reports that it was acquired from the chief of the Kitombe (Kasai Pende). The bottle-shaped vessel was used to pour palm wine into the chief's cup. The inscription with the names of the three masks "gabuku", "pumbu" and "mwawa" had been added later by the Jesuits. Sousberghe (1903-2006), a Belgian Jesuit priest, worked as missionary and ethnologist in the Lower Congo Basin, particularly with the Pende and neighbouring groups. Works by the same artist can be found in the holdings of the Royal Museum for Central Africa Tervuren, Belgium (inventory no. EO.1953.74.3864 and EO.1955.36.1).


Sousberghe, Leon de, L' Art Pende, o.O. 1958, p. 167, Fig. 1