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African Art / Works from the Swiss collection of Walter Schwab

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 05:00 PM • Milan


PENDE Democratic Republic of the Congo, region of Kasai


€ 6.000 - 8.000

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h 72 cm
Figure with a child.
Wood covered with black and red colours of plant origin.
The Pende of the East, or Pende Kasai as this group is often called, live in a vast southern area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its borders with Angola.This figure of a mother holding her child in her right arm is an unusual depiction in Pende craftsmanship. In particular, it is extremely rare in this group’s cultural tradition, which typically expresses itself in the more common Mbuya masks worn during ceremonies to circumcise their young boys.Sculptures of females with their child in their arms were placed atop the huts of the heads of the village to decorate the house. This would convey who their favourite wife was.These works, which are typically around a metre tall, were sculpted only in the upper three quarters. The bottom is positioned on a thick rectangular base which acted as a support.This sculpture was created without the support base and, with all likelihood, was zealously kept in the house of the head of the village along with other ritual objects. Both the mother and her child wear a hat, something which characterises these works.Her eyelids pointing downwards and the nose upwards are details that are often found in this type of dance masks.The vertical markings on the face of the women are also very common in Suku and Bambala masks, two groups who live in neighbouring areas.


Private collection (1990);


ABBATE FRANCESCO & MONTI FRANCO, Arte dell’Africa e dell’Oceania, Milano 1966, pag. 105 (11)DELANGE JACQUELINE & LEIRIS MICHEL, Africa nera, Milano 1967, pag. 173 (3);
FELIX MARC LEO, 100 Peoples of Zaire and their sculpture: Pende Kasai, pag. 141, fig. 15 Bruxelles 1987 (201);

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Condition report

To request a Condition Report, please contact The department will provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Please note that what Finarte declares with respect to the state of conservation of the objects corresponds only to a qualified opinion and that we are not professional conservators or restorers. We urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. We always suggest prospective buyers to inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition during the exhibition days as indicated in the catalog.