Lot: 250

93rd Tribal Art Auction

Male ancestor figure "singiti"

D. R. Congo, Hemba, Niembo style

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Ludwig Bretschneider, Munich, Germany (1972) H: 22 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, rep. (base), on pedestal This idealized portrait commemorated and honored the lifetime accomplishments of a deceased male ancestor. With its serene expression the figure embodies the dignity and wisdom of a respected elder. As spiritual mediators between the living and the dead, these figures were preserved in a shrine, where they were paid homage with prayers and blood sacrifices. The figures also provided a powerful ideological message about family continuity and legitimized the political authority inherited by the ancestor’s living kin.

Neyt, Francois, La Grande Statuaire Hemba du Zaire, Louvain-la-Neuve 1977