Male Ancestor Figure - hard wood, Iroko: Chlorophora excelsa - Kusu / Hemba - D.R.C.

Male Ancestor Figure - hard wood, Iroko: Chlorophora excelsa - Kusu / Hemba - D.R.C.
It dates to around 1920-1930 - Good condition, used with some signs of wear

Superb Male Ancestor Figure – Kusu / Hemba – D.R.C.

In fairly good state, eroded base as found. It dates to around 1920-1930.
On stand.

Provenance: Ex – collection of Dr. Tobias Kern, greater Berlin. Bought from him by S. Westerdijk around 1955.

The territory where Kusu and Hemba live side by side, only separated by the Lualaba River, has been a rich breeding ground for artforms, especially wood carvings, that show mutual influences. One of the interesting outcomes of this process has been the figure we show here. The cruciform Hemba coiffure has been elevated into a kind of openwork structure on the crown of the head instead of at the back so as come close to a Kusu solution. In most true Kusu work, however, this hairdo is closed and consists of a compilation of braids. The facial expression is Hemba in origin, though somewhat more severe and less sweet than in pure Hemba work. The structure of the body is more cubistic than in Hemba male ancestral figures in both the arms and the legs. Very fine crusted patina testifying to the great age of this royal item.

Literature: Jan Debbaut (et alii eds.): Utotombo, Brussels, 1988, fig.234.

Dimensions: 54 x 14 x 6 cm.
People / Region: The Kusu and Hemba live in Eastern Kasaye.
Material: hard wood, Iroko: Chlorophora excelsa.
Weight: 1.99 kg.

Sold with handwritten declaration of authenticity by Dr. P. Westerdijk, museum ethnologist and cultural anthropologist specialized, for over 50 years now, in the study of the material cultures in African nations that live south of the Sahara.

For the original text from seller, set language on this site to: English

Due to bad experiences with carriers, we opted for one reliable carrier. The shipping costs are therefore slightly higher. Sent by registered and insured mail.

Lot details
Male Ancestor Figure
Ethnic group/ culture
Kusu / Hemba
Region/ country
hard wood, Iroko: Chlorophora excelsa
It dates to around 1920-1930
Good condition, used with some signs of wear
Sold with stand
54×14×6 cm
1.99 kg
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