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HEMBA-KUSU FIGURE

034 / 95
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034

HEMBA-KUSU FIGURE

Size 69 cm
Material Wood
Origin D.R. Congo

In this sculpture from the northern Hemba region, neighboring the Bassikasingo, we recognize the distinctive noble and solemn features of the Singitis, primordial ancestors of the Hemba. It also combines the naturalist style of its region with a certain degree of abstraction which is typically to be found in Bassikassingo figures. The powerful body is rigorously and harmoniously structured by an alternation of thick volumes and openwork spaces. The coiffure composed of four braids is a common feature in a small group of sculptures collected in the Luama river area. The best-known examples are the Hemba-Kusu figure of the Quai Branly, formerly owned by Jacques Kerchache or, with a more naturalistic style, the ancestor figure acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2015. The figure bears a thick patina of years of veneration typical from this Northern area.

For comparable figures, see also:
Elsy Leuzinger, The Art of Black Africa, Zurich, 1972, p.176
François Neyt, La grande statuaire Hemba du Zaïre, 1977, p. 243

Provenance:

Hendrik Elias, Wieze, 1975
Jacky de Mayer collection, Antwerp
Tribal Art Classics, Adrian Schlag Gallery, Brussels
Important private collection, Belgium

With a certificate by Adrian Schlag Gallery