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Lot 0005
This is a very fine and rare old example of the Mangbetu court arts. The finial of the five-stringed harp is carved to represent a human head. The delicately rendered features of the face include stylized, face and eyes. The simply carved mouth echoes the shape and form of the eyes. The elongated representation of the head is a reference to the past Mangbetu practice of cranial deformation, or shaping the head during infancy by means of gentle pressure. The heads featured on harps such as these are also often decorated; this example is crowned with fine linear incising, indicative of traditional Mangbetu coiffures. This example is unusual as it appears to have male and female attributes, possibly representing a hermaphrodite. Measures 27 inches tall x 5 inches wide.


Overall Good condition. Losses to the tuning pegs and strings long ago.

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A Fine Mangbetu Harp , African Musical Instrument

Estimate $500 - $1,000Dec 27, 2016