**Originally Listed At $900**
Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Teke peoples, ca. early 20th century CE. A wonderful, hand-carved wooden male fetish figure standing on attenuated legs with delineated male genitalia. The armless figure has a barrel-shaped torso with a central cavity, angular shoulders, and a thick, tubular neck. A well-defined conical head exhibits a pensive visage comprised of almond-shaped eyes, a slender nose, thin lips drawn slightly apart, cupped ears, and a large goatee, all within finely-incised vertical striations, and capped with a simple brimmed hat. The cavity in the chest is meant to hold a small yet very personal item, with the intention that the statue would thereby protect the owner of the fetish. Covered in a lustrous toffee-hued patina, this is a fabulous example from central Africa! Custom wooden display stand included. Size: 11.875" H (30.2 cm); 12.25" H (31.1 cm) on included custom stand.
One of the most recognizable tribes in Africa, the Teke produce some of central Africa’s most beautiful artistic pieces. The name Teke (literally translated as "to purchase") is indicative of the primary occupation of most within the culture: trade and commerce with neighboring tribes and countries. Their heavy involvement with commerce meant that the Teke both influence and are influenced by those cultures with which trade is abundant.
Figures which contain small and personal fetish items, like this example, would likely have held a strong spiritual or religious significance. Concurrently, the personal nature of these figures means that only the owner of the statue would know exactly what that meaning was. For example, statues like this would have been created for protecting a new-born infant. The protection ritual would spiritually link the fetish figure with the child, and a piece of the placenta from the birthing process would then be placed within the hollowed-out abdominal cavity.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private A. de Jong collection, The Netherlands
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