Lot 66
  • 66

Eastern Congolese Power Figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo

15,000 - 25,000 USD
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  • wood, feathers
  • Height: 24 in (61 cm)


Reportedly collected in situ by a Belgian colonial administrator
Ralph Nash, London
Alan Brandt, New York (inv. no. "7273 25")
Allan Stone, New York, acquired from the above on February 15, 1973


The Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut, Power Incarnate: Allan Stone's Collection of Sculpture from the Congo, May 14 - September 4, 2011


Kevin D. Dumouchelle, Power Incarnate: Allan Stone's Collection of Sculpture from the Congo, Greenwich, Connecticut, 2011, p. 45, cat. 22

Catalogue Note

This enigmatic figure, clearly of great age, is a masterpiece of stacked geometric forms; additing to its formal sculptural beauty is a complex series of ritual attachments and insertions.  Oversized paddle shaped feet support the powerfully articulated triangular legs, rising to a ridged pelvis which forms a container for magical substances packed underneath.  Above this rises a columnar torso punctuated by three points on the front representing the breasts and umbelicus. Long narrow arms held away from the body but hanging straight down extend past the waist and terminate in short, five-fingered hands.  The top of the torso is a flattened circular surface, from the center of which arises the flared coulmnar neck.  A flat, slightly upturned and almost perfectly circular face is inscribed upon the laterally disc-shaped head.  The simple facial features are notched in with cursory adze strokes and reveal an expression of half-somnulence, with heavy-lidded eyes and open mouth.  A tiara of rope, feathers, and spindles of animal hair surrounds the head; the figure also wears similarly composed necklace, belt, and loincloth.  Metal bracelets and anklets, applied by a blacksmith, convey the high status of the figure.  Knotted rope earrings surround the ears, which are represented as circular pits on either side of the head.  A herringbone-pattern coiffure of parallel grooves covers the back of the head.  At the center of the spine is a large cavity for the reception of magical charge materials, this one filled with black seeds pressed into a matrix of mud paste.