Lot: 458

80th Tribal Art Auction

Janiform figure "kabeja"

D. R. Congo, Luba

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Robert Keating Collection, USA (Inventory number "178") H: 10.2 inch 4500 EUR
plus 21 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, dark brown, slightly encrusted patina, two nearly identical figures, male and female, joined back-to-back, cavity on top of their heads filled with magical substances, dam., fragmentary legs and arms, fine cracks, slight traces of abrasion, base; "kabeja" figures are seen as visual icon of the primordial couple, the founders of the society. They are owned by the clan head known as the "fumu mwela". "Kabeja" figures are presented at clan meetings led by the chief. They were used by individuals for multiple purposes: to ensure good relationship with primordial ancestors, to encourage fertility and to protect against evil forces.