Lot 284
  • 284

Teke Power Figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo

30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • wood
  • Height: 18 1/4 in (46.4 cm)


René Rasmussen, Paris
Mauricio and Emilia Lasansky, Iowa City, acquired from the above
By descent to the present owners


The University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, African Art from Iowa Private Collections, November 13, 1981 - January 10, 1982


Christopher D. Roy, African Art from Iowa Private Collections, Iowa City, 1981, pp. 34-35, cat. 23

Catalogue Note

LaGamma (2007: 304) notes: "In Teke society the ikwii, or shades of the death, warded off calamities perpetrated by witches. The father of a family invoked the ikwii of his father, mother, and sometimes his mother's brother on behalf of his own children and wives. A shrine to one's deceased family members featured reliquary figures of some of those individuals (buti) along with other items [...].

"Buti were named after and identified with the specific male ancestors whom they embodied. Generally those individuals were renowned chiefs or leaders whose presence assured the community's well-being. The sacred component of buti [i.e., the charge material packed into the cavity in the front of the abdomen] was composed of earth from the grave of the deceased, which was considered to contain traces of his corporeal being. [...] As the responsibility of individual family leaders,buti were kept within their owners' home. Those of a village leader afforded to benefits to the community at large. It appears that, on the death of its owner, a buti was often buried with him along with all his other belongings."