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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Kongo, Yombe : Kongo Wooden Fertility Sculpture
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Kongo Wooden Fertility Sculpture - PF.3949
Origin: Southwestern Congo
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 16" (40.6cm) high x 4.25" (10.8cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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There are some works of art which have the effect of silencing everything around them, making the busy activities of life come to a halt so we can listen to what the object is telling us. This forceful figure has that ability to draw our eyes immediately to it, pull our emotions within its powerful aura, revolve around her penetrating gaze and the exciting sense of wonder she evokes.

The Kongo (also known as the Bakongo tribe) sculptors are well-known for creating objects with intense gestures and postures, usually representing royal wives, hunters, musicians or healers. In this case, a woman with hands cupped under her breasts is kneeling in an act of supplication, her mouth is wide open beseeching spirits of ancestors or other forces to aid her in fertility and an easy childbirth. Every gesture is significant and relates an instant meaning to the observer. Here, the woman is deeply humbled, almost in pain in her heartfelt plea. She may be a woman of a wealthy or royal family indicated by the necklace she wears and the scarification on her breasts. The four figures on the base(two pairs of male and female) may represent ancestral couples, offering support to their living relative. This woman touches our heart with a cry heard in every culture in every age that reaches to the soul.
- (PF.3949)


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