Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Suku people, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. A rare, fascinating hand-carved wooden anthropomorphic figure, its surface decorated with thick, dark red pigment, much of which remains, especially around the base. The figure has a torso rising from a rounded base, with thin arms and hands that meet at its waist, holding something small and projecting - perhaps a symbolic belly button. The face is triangular, as many Suku depictions of humans are, with almond shaped eyes and a long, pointed chin/beard. Two small holes are drilled at the temples, probably for attachments that are now lost. A conical iron projection has been inserted into a slot at the top of the head; another slot in front of it may once have held a similar piece of ornament. The Suku are known for their wooden sculpture, which often represents magical and spiritual beings. Size: 4.3" W x 9.4" H (10.9 cm x 23.9 cm)
Provenance: ex-private Dave DeRoche collection, Piedmont, California, USA, collected from 1970-today
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Weathered surface with some small areas of damage low on the back of the body. Encrusted deposits of pigment and offerings. The iron projection is covered in an oxidized patina. Old collection labels are on the underside.