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African Art | Works from the Swiss collection of Walter Schwab

Wednesday 13 October 2021 • Milan


BEMBE Republic of the Congo, southern region


€ 2.500 - 3.000

Price realized

€ 3.072

The price includes buyer's premium


h 16,5 cm
Figure of an ancestor.Hardwood with a clear, natural glaze with black encrustation. White ceramic splinters on the eyes. Small restoration on the crest of the hair.
This depicts a hunter standing on a circular platform.All the small dimensions of Bembe sculptures stand out thanks to the scarification on the body, which highlight which clan the sculpture belongs to, as well as their brilliant patina.This statuette was consecrated by the diviner, who would place magical substances in the space at the bottom of the back. This ritual guaranteed the presence of their ancestor’s soul inside the figure. Thus, the small sculpture became an amulet that extended their protection to its owner and their relatives.

The figure of the hunter with his European-style rifle and a knife in its right hand is a theme found in some Bembe work.The hairstyle with a central crest is a typical characteristic of people with a high social status, a rank confirmed by the rich scarification on the body and the presence of a rifle, a precious object reserved for hunting which few individuals could afford at the time.


Former private collection (in the ‘70s);
Private collection;


LEHUARD RAOUL, Art Bakongo: Les centres de style, Arnouville, Francia 1989, volume II°, pag. 352 (233 bis);
WALKER ART CENTER, Art of the Congo, Minneapolis 1967, pag. 24, fig. 2.2 (33);
SOTHEBY’S, Collection Paolo Morigi, Paris asta del 6 Giugno 2005, lotto 161 (503);
FALGAYRETTES LEVEAU CHRISTIANE, Chasseurs et guerrier, Musée Dapper, Paris 1998, pag. 192 (529);

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