An impressive nicely carved wooden Male Ancestor Figure standing 15 inches in height. Carved from a single piece of hardwood the figure has a lovely aged patina and apart from a small wood stress fracture on the back of the lower head it is in fantastic condition. The figure comes from a large collection of Tribal Art and it still has the odour of wood smoke clinging to it despite it being around 50 - 70 years of age. Kusu tribal history is shared with the Nkutshu and Tetela tribes, all of whom came from the northwest of their current location in the Congo, and share a Mongo-Kundu origin. Their first movement was southward, then they moved back north through Luba, Songye, and Hemba territory, acquiring social customs and learning artistic styles along the way. Much of Kusu sculpture is comparable to their neighbours, from the Luba chief's chairs and Songye-like power figures, to the Hemba-influenced ancestor figures. Women also make pottery and basketry, which is used in everyday life.Kusu tribe religious practice has been greatly influenced by their neighbours. They recognize a supreme being (Vilie) and share a common belief in the power of the ancestors, despite their geographical differences. They worship various nature spirits that can be traced to their Mongo origins, recognize ancestor cults that have been borrowed from the Hemba and the Luba, and fashion and use powerful magical figures similar to those found among the Songye. There is an initiation society, which is primarily aimed at educating people about the evils of witchcraft, and there are also diviners that are consulted for matters of importance.
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