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A superb Luba Hemba female 'mboko' figure


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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: African: Pre 1930: Item # 1238065

Please refer to our stock # L018332 when inquiring.
michael cichon tribal arts
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P.O. Box 5919
Bradenton, FL 34281
941.224.0440

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This very old and much cared-for kneeling female bowl-bearer (mboko) served as an oracle for a diviner. Its small scale indicates it functioned in an "intimate and personal" manner, according to Mary and Allen Roberts in 'Memory: Luba Art and the Making of History'. It shows damage caused from insects and extensive handling, alike, with evidence of much re-patination over the losses. These female figures acted as effigy receptacles for chalk and various other offerings, and represented the wife of the diviner's possessing spirit. The female figures shown in this posture are believed to have the capacity to hunt down evil forces and act as a spy for the diviner. From the D.R.Congo, Lubaized Hemba (Eastern Luba) peoples, early 20th century. 6 1/8"H x 2.25" W. Condition is very fine and solid, with a deep, shiny, dark brown, aged patina. There is a small cavity in the top of the head with 'charge' material still in place. Provenance: private Korean collection since the 1950's; Eugene Behlen collection, since 1980's.