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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Archive : Chokwe Wooden Sculpture of a Woman
Chokwe Wooden Sculpture of a Woman - PF.5992
Origin: Angola
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 10" (25.4cm) high x 3.125" (7.9cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Chokwe
Medium: Wood and Mixed Media

Additional Information: SOLD These superb coins are set in a pair of 18-karat gold cufflinks.

Location: United States
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The Chokwe, who inhabit a region covering Angola and spreading into Zambia and southern Congo, are among the most creative and original artist in Africa. They are famous for their female mask and their sculptures commemorating their legendary founder Tshibinda Ilunga. Statues of this great leader abound; however, since the social organization of the tribe is founded upon matrilineal lineages, female sculptures are also equally represented. Generally, these can either be identified as queen mothers or the wives of chiefs. This gorgeous statue of such a female figure is a perfect example of the remarkable artistry of the Chokwe people. The forms of her body are heavily influenced by the classic Chokwe posture epitomized in the representations of Tshibinda Ilunga. Her arms are bent at right angles and her hands with fingers spread apart reproduce the taci gesture, which expresses strength and power and emphasizes the vitality of the queen mother and the prosperity of her people. Her body is stocky, with legs slightly bent, shoulders clearly defined, and a powerful thick neck. Her elaborate braided hairdo is a sign of royalty both in respects to the beauty of the style as well as the time involved undertaking the laborious process of braiding. Her facial features, including her almond-shaped eyes and pointed chin, are also characteristic of the Chokwe style. The mark on her forehead, similar in shape to a Maltese Cross, is called “Cingelyengelye” and is considered a mark of beauty that enhances both her appearance and stature. Highlights such as the animal hide skirt and metal earrings heighten the power and naturalism of the work. This sculpture commemorates an important female figure within the community. Her rank and stature are clear both from the superior craftsmanship of the piece as well as the stylistic forms which link her with Tshinbinda Ilunga the mythical founder of the tribe. - (PF.5992)


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