The Kongo occupy the region at the mouth of the Congo River and are present in three countries – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and the Congo Republic. Numerous subgroups form the vast Kongo cultural complex, among which are the Vili, the Woyo and the Yombe. They survive from day to day on agricultural production, fishing, and hunting. Kongo artists carved numerous figures and objects characterized by naturalistic features.
Notice the mpu cap. It is a symbol of prestige usually worn by men. This tradition goes back to the 17the-18th century. On a female this cap may signify her as both a leader and a mother figure. She is wearing a necklace and has scarifications on her shoulders and arms - a sign of belonging to her clan.
The founding-mother of the clan occupies a position of great respect, and the art of the Kongo is one of the richest in representations of mother-and-child-group. The maternity statues were used to ward off danger to mothers during delivery and to protect the health of the child. A maternity statue’s effectiveness depended on the dignity of the figure and its youth (shown by the firmness of the breasts).
Reserved by a clientExhibited at the "Small Format" Exhibition, Dec 2012