Mipasi Ancestor Figurine - Tabwa - D.R Congo
Provenance: private collection, Belgium.
Dimensions: 32 x 9 cm.
Pairs of masculine and feminine figures are important and rare objects of the Tabwa. These represent the ancestors of a particular Tabwa lineage, and were kept by the head of the lineage in a special sanctuary, to be honoured. This figure belongs to a couple which stands out by the quality of the sculpture, the elaborate hairdo and the scarification pattern represented on the body.
The scarification patterns were an important expression of the religious, social and aesthetic Tabwa principles, as for many other traditional tribal peoples of Africa.
Facial scarifications underline the middle of the forehead, between the eyes, since the Tabwa consider that this is the spiritual centre of the human being. The central scarification line in the middle of the trunk represents the line of essential balance which exist in the body, but also in the world in which the person lives.
Equilateral triangles composing the decorations on the body, as well as the decoration around the base of each figure, is a motif named Balamwezi, a Tawba word meaning “the rise of the new moon”. The period between the last and the new moon corresponds to obscurity and transition. For the Tabwa, this is one of the most dangerous periods in one’s life to take a decision, it reminds that it is necessary for the people to carefully analyse their actions, and their effects on the family, on tribal units and on the world in general.
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Tags: mask, figurine, sculpture, figure, statuette, wood, art, contemporary, first, primitive, tribal, African, antiquity, artwork, gallery, Picasso, Giacometti, art gallery, African art, cubism.
- Ancestor figure
- Indigenous object name
- Region/ country
- Congo DRC
- Tabwa Batabwa
- 1st half 20th century
- Vintage - used with visible signs of wear
- Sold with stand
- 32×9×0 cm