This double-figure form, representing a man and woman standing back-to-back, was believed to have protective powers, bring fertility, communicate with deceased ancestors, and to copulate and conceive rather monstrous beings.
There is a receptacle at the top of the figure for fetish materials placed there to 'feed' the figure and keep it active.
The features on this example are quite naturalistic and developed for the type. Stylistically, it most resembles figures coming from the northwestern Hemba region, toward the area occupied by their neighbors, the Kusu.
Carved from a reddish wood with somewhat oily surface ranging in color from deep brown-black to golden along the high points.
Slight loss to left ear of female due to insect damage, otherwise very fine condition.
Lovely and quite old. Ex-Frank Oeschlager collection, FL, 1970's. 13.25"H x 5.75"W. From D.R. Congo, formerly Zaire, ca. early 20th century.