The magnificence of the ancestral figure is reflected in the statue’s arresting presence, the formal eurhythmy, the fluidity of its outlines and the commanding beauty of the head. The ovoid face with its rounded full forms, blossoms in the curve of the exposed forehead, which extends to the top of the head. The coiffure, which unfolds in four lobes, comes together in a decorated diadem. On a plane inclined gently upwards, two intricate horizontal braids cover two vertical braids. They protect a receptacle that has its root in mythical stories: during the short migrations of the dry season, this was where the chief of the clan deposited the seeds to be planted during the following rain season. Finally, the delicately sculpted beard accentuates the ancestral ascendancy while structuring the lower part of the face.
Acquired approximately fifty years ago from a Belgian dealer, this majestic ancestral statue from the Z Collection is one of the first known examples in Europe of the great Hemba statuary, similar to the statue that François Neyt attributes to the same sculptor, and which is preserved at the Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale (inv. n° 72.17).
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