54
54
A fine Yombe maternity figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT
54
A fine Yombe maternity figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Collection of Frieda and Milton Rosenthal: African and Oceanic Art

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New York

A fine Yombe maternity figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo
phemba, seated and tenderly supporting the baby with broad hands, the back with raised scarification, the head strongly pitched forward with heavy-lidded eyes inset with glass, and wearing a crested coiffure; handwritten label ('MAYOMBE - R.of Zaire 19 cent - RLKM') on reverse bottom; fine honey brown patina with residue.
height 13 1/8 in. 33.2 cm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Germaine Rodier, Paris
John J. Klejman, New York
Acquired from the above on January 3, 1975

Literature

Raoul Lehuard, Art Bakongo: Les Centres de Style, Arnouvilles, 1989, p. 582, fig. K 7-1-2

Catalogue Note

The Rosenthal phemba has been classified by Lehuard (vol. II, 1989: 582) as a masterful example of the rare Yombe sub-style K 7. For another figure by the same hand in the Musée Royale de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren see id. (loc. cit., 582, fig. K 7-1-1).

Yombe maternity figures were used in association with women's cults. The iconography of the so-called phemba figures, a cross-legged woman in upright position, holding an infant and facing to the front, has two variants: first, the mother holding a living infant, possibly as a metaphor for the fertility of the people and the land; second, with the mother holding a dead infant as a symbol for the dignity and contemplation of the matriarch.

The Collection of Frieda and Milton Rosenthal: African and Oceanic Art

|
New York