Lot: 193

94th Tribal Art Auction

Janiform power figure "kabeja"

D. R. Congo, Hemba

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Paolo Morigi, Magliaso-Lugano, Switzerland ("305")
Walter Stanley Schwab, Murten, Switzerland ("WS 556") (ca.1978)
H: 8.9 inch 1500 EUR
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, pigments, oily patina in some places, sacrificial traces, base "Kabeja" figures are seen as visual icon of the primordial couple, the founders of the society ("abeja" = woman, "makua" = man). The "kabeja makua" is the fundamental object of the Hemba cult, including the cult of ancestors. Whether administering justice or making an offering to the ancestor these Janus "kabeja" were always present. They are owned by the clan head known as the "fumu mwela".


Neyt, Francois, La Grande Statuaire Hemba du Zaire, Louvain-la-Neuve 1977, p. 483-484