LUBA HEMBA Ancestral Figurine Early 20th Century

This beautifully carved Ancestor figurine of a Luba maiden stands some 13 1/2" in height and has a wonderful deep aged patina....it is also quite heavy being carved from a hardwood...possibly Ebony or similar.....actually colour is darker than as shown in the pictures. There are a number of old borer holes due to probably to the piece having been neglected in an attic or shed for many years.....there is also a stress fracture on the base and a few surface splits only...as one would expect in a wooden piece of this age. The figurine has the traditional CRUCIFORM Style hair piece often seen in Luba pieces of this age. I believe the piece dates from the early 1900's. The Luba Empire was thought to have been founded by Kalala Ilunga but dates are undecided. It was located in todays Southern Zaire/Democratic Rep.of Kongo, on the left bank of the Lualaba River. Ancestor figures were common....found in the gloom of funeral buildings. A key characteristic was that they were firmly planted on their relatively short legs. Their hands were often on the bulbous belly near the naval... an evocation of the transmission of life through the female body. Their faces were calm and serene with carefully traced mouth and aquiline nose and the eyes were closed to the invisible reality of the present. Their hairstyles were of particular interest with the cruciform plaited coiffure framed by a decorated headband or in the case of males, a finely sculpted beard extended to the hairline. Pieces of this quality ...not necessarily as old as this one....are being sold in the $400-$600 range so this piece really represents excellent value for money

Item ID: 5764

$375 USD

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Bernard Molloy, Auckland, New Zealand   

At Molloy's of Milford Antiques Centre, Auckland, New Zealand

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