Indigenous Fine Arts - The Missing Link
A rare Shi wooden panel with two faces

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Pre 1950: item # 1185500

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michael cichon tribal arts
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A rare Shi wooden panel with two faces
It is believed the two images staring out from this hollowed, bowl or canoe-like panel represent primordial male and female ancestors closely associated with divination practices. The object comes from the Shi people who live in the area of Lake Kivu in the Maniema region, D.R.Congo. The faces have a vaguely simian character, and a series of holes along the outside apparently once had a string of feathers attached. It is said "the plaques were kept in small huts, where shrines were erected and offerings made to them" ("Maniema" by Marc L. Felix, Verlag Fred Jahn, Munchen, 1989 pages 264). Measuring 16"L x 6 7/8"W, the panel is in fine condition with several losses to the upper and lower edges, and shows a varied, medium brown, aged patina. There is loss to the micaceous white kaolin based pigment which was applied across the eyes and center line of each face, and the eye cavities hold much red pigment which can also be found encrusted on the underside of each head/mask where it connects to the panel. Early-mid 20th C. Breuer Collection, NY and FL since the 1980's. A powerful and important object from Eastern D.R.Congo.

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