Lot: 296

97th Auction

Tomb figure "ntadi" in the shape of a drummer

D. R. Congo, Lower Congo province / Northern Angola, Mboma

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
German Private Collection, Rüthen H: 12.8 inch This object is not available anymore.

steatit (soapstone), missing parts

These figures are usually called "ntadi" (pl. "mintadi"), a term referring to the soft stone from which they are made; but they are also known as "bitumba" (sing. "tumba" ).

The "ntadi" are said to be representations of ancestors, commemorative figures of highly respected persons, that were placed on graves. The figures are not lifelike portraits, but reflections of how their patrons wanted to live on in memory.

According to other sources, they may also have served to mark land boundaries, as grave guards, or as a kind of proxy for tribal chiefs and rulers in absence.

Lehuard, Raoul, Art Bakongo, Statuaire en pierre sculptée, o. J., p. 1206
This object is subject to the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Protection Act. For shipment to a non-EU member state, export regulations will vary.