|Fetish Figure Teke Tribe, Democratic Republic of Congo|
Few Teke figures to enter the Western art market demonstrate the level of carving skill, aesthetic beauty, and impact conveyed by this figure. Vetted as antique and authentic by a committee of experts at Bruneaf in Brussels, this figure was featured in the Bruneaf catalogue and was a source of great enjoyment and discussion for collectors. The figure features exquisite detail throughout, artistic and naturalistic balance, and a polished, glowing patina, the result of fine finishing and years of human handling. A superb sculpture for any collector of objects of the highest quality and importance.
Among the Teke, as with their neighbors, the Songye, figural sculptures, mankishi (singular: nkishi), are instruments used to bring good fortune, protect, heal, and counteract evil. While a carver produces the wooden figure, a ritual specialist, nganga, adds a multitude of substances and objects that give nkishi its power and enhance its visual impact. The additional materials can take the form of found items in nature, such as feathers, tree bark, sticks, stones, leaves, bones, pelt, or other materials, as well as acquired items, such as glass, metal, beads, etc. As collectors of African art are aware who are familiar with Teke sculpture, this is among the finest examples one will ever see. This extraordinary example, with its finely sculpted high crest coiffure, vertical linear scarification on the face, cubist beard and body form, contains a hole into which the "bilongo", or magic substances, remain embedded. The bilongo, held within a rectangular hole carved out of the center of the figure, consists of, among other objects, a very sharp animal tooth. The alternating coloration is superb--the work is that of a master craftsman.
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood, animal tooth|
|Dimensions: 35 cm|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art|
|About the Teke TribeThe Teke people settled in a territory lying across the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and Gabon. During the 15th century, they were integrated into the Tio kingdom, but attained independence in the 17th century. Today they live in villages led by a clan elder known as the Mfumu, who answers to a hereditary land-chief called Mfumu na tzee. Their economy is mainly based on farming maize, millet and tobacco, but the Teke are also skilled fishermen and traders. They believe in a supreme God, Nzambi, whose favors can be obtained with the help of tutelary spirits (passage ref: Bacquart, The Tribal Arts of Africa)|
|Provenance: Ex. Private American Collection (California estate)|
|Price:||Item has been sold.|
|Offered By:||Items for sale from dealers we worked with previously|
121 Mount Vernon, Boston, MA 02108 USA
Item has been sold.
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