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    Bembe (Democratic Republic of Congo)
    Female Figure holding a Gourd
    Wood, porcelain
    Height: 6 ¼ inches Width: 2 3/8 inches Depth: 1 5/8 inches

    Much Bembe wood sculpture was made to enable people to maintain contact with their ancestors. Many of these figures have the entire torso-abdomen area covered with carefully rendered raised scarification patterns. Early photographs indicate that many of the peoples in the greater Congo watershed had extraordinarily complex raised cicatrix patterns over much of the upper body, and often on the face as well, though Bembe sculptures do not reflect the latter. "When these religious sculptures have been sanctified they can be used in healing or to designate a ndoki (witch). They are believed to contain the spirit of an ancestor...The sculpture is kept by the owner who can employ its assistance when he makes communication with an ancestor, such as his father" (Bertil Söderberg in Suzanne Greub, ed. Expressions of Belief. Masterpieces of African, Oceanic, and Indonesian Art from the Museum voor Volkenkunde, Rotterdam. New York: Rizzoli, 1988). This figure has the anal orifice in which sanctifying magical materials would be placed. The proper left hand is missing, as are the lower right arm and the fronts of both feet.

    Provenance: H. Bruce Greene II and family, Naples, Florida

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    7th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 865

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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