Lot: 29697th Auction
Tomb figure "ntadi" in the shape of a drummer
D. R. Congo, Lower Congo province / Northern Angola, Mboma
|Provenance||Size||Starting price / estimated price|
|German Private Collection, Rüthen||H: 12.8 inch||This object is not available anymore.|
steatit (soapstone), missing parts
These figures are usually called "ntadi" (pl. "mintadi"), a term referring to the soft stone from which they are made; but they are also known as "bitumba" (sing. "tumba" ).
The "ntadi" are said to be representations of ancestors, commemorative figures of highly respected persons, that were placed on graves. The figures are not lifelike portraits, but reflections of how their patrons wanted to live on in memory.
According to other sources, they may also have served to mark land boundaries, as grave guards, or as a kind of proxy for tribal chiefs and rulers in absence.