Lot: 38

Rare head sculpture of a male notable "zizi"

Angola / D. R. Kongo, Cabinda / Bakongo, Yombe

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Heinrich Füllbeck, Munich, Germany
Jürgen Peters, Nürnberg, Germany
H: 10.6 inch 3500 EUR / 7000 EUR

wood, polychrome painted, part of an old label: "Nr. 4905 - 1908 - Gegenstand: geschnitzter Menschenkopf - de Cabinda" A head sculpture like this one was published by M.L. Felix (2003) and described by him as the "only known, preserved piece of this kind". Head sculptures "zizi" were made only for important persons and carried portrayal features.They were attached to the top of a cloth mortuary bundle, which contained the corpse of the deceased. Surmounted by such a head, the bundle was carried in a procession to the given site of burial, where the corpse would be interred. The figurative head would sometimes remain with the family of the deceased, other heads were left on the graveside so as to weather away hence their rarity.

Felix, Marc L. (ed.), Kongo Kingdom Art, China 2003, p. 273, cat. 8.3.