Mangbetu Figure

side full
          The full view


front side

               The Side View

        The Elongated Head


           The Abdomen


The Mangbetu migrated from Sudan to Congo region in the 1700s, and live in societies that revolve around a court system. They are particularly known for their professional musicians, and their extravagant dancing and ceremonial display. Their artworks were produced for the royal court families, and ranged from architecture to objects of religious/spiritual significance and secular items decorated with pleasing motifs and designs.

The role of these pieces is uncertain. The Mangbetu creator god is named Noro (also Kilima), but there is little sculptural abstraction in Mangbetu art that hints at an aim beyond the representational, or the secular decorative. They may also represent ancestors, which the kings usually command be revered. It is possible that the decorations on such pieces are designed to repel the negative effects of ‘Likundu’ evil spirits or witchery, which is a major concern in Mangbetu society.

Mangbetu art is perhaps most recognizable for the inverted-cone coiffures of the female figures that tend to adorn it. The coiffure exaggerated by cranial deformation during infancy was worn by women until the 1950s. Most of the pieces found their way to the royal courts. Kings were originally believed to be semi-divine, able to control natural resources using magical objects such as leopard parts. In the 1850s they were credited with possessing a force called nebeli, which was used to lure animals into traps and also to deceive colonial enemies.

Approximate dimensions:  89 cm (H) x 23cm (W) x  21cm (D)

Weight: 4.2 kg

Price: please send us an inquiry and we will answer as soon as possible


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