Marcia and Irwin Hersey, New York
Sotheby's New York, November 10, 1987, lot 78
Armand Arman (born Armand Pierre Fernandez, 1928-2005), New York, acquired at the above auction
Michael Oliver, New York, acquired from the above
Robert Rubin, New York, acquired from the above in October 1998
Musée d'Arts Africains, Océaniens, Amérindiens, Marseille, African Faces, African Figures: The Arman Collection, June 23 - October 30, 1996; additional venues:
Musée National des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Paris, December 3, 1996 - February 17, 1997
Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Museum für Völkerkunde, Cologne, March - August, 1997
Museum for African Art, New York, October 9, 1997 - April 19, 1998
Musées de Marseille, Arman & l'art africain, Paris, 1996, p. 94, cat. 43
Museum for African Art, African Faces, African Figures: the Arman Collection, New York, 1997, p. 183, cat. 172
According to Hélène Joubert in her discussion of the Rubin Boyo statuette in the exhibition catalog African Faces, African Figures: the Arman Collection (MfAA 1997: 217-218, text to cat. 172), "[Boyo] statuary, objects of great care, exclusively represent ancestral kings. [...] This stern faced figure has a body with angular shoulders, amphoral torso marked by scarifications radiating from the navel, framed by thin arms and resting on very short legs of rounded volumes which link the ensemble to objects of Hemba production. The head, quite voluminous, nonetheless possesses traits more attributable to the Buyu of Kivu Province, given the circular and globular aspect of the eyes, seemingly deprived of sight."
The small scale as well as traces of ritual practice on the head of the Rubin Boyo figure suggest that it served as a power figure, possibly used by a diviner to invoke his royal ancestors.
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