Tabwa Mipasi ancestor bust
The Tabwa or Batabwa live in the south-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near Lake Tanganyika. Their art is marked by their practice of ancestor worship. They mainly sculpt statues bearing the effigy of ancestors called Mipasi. The bust presented here is very beautifully made. The torso is covered with ritual scarifications, as are the temples.
The patina, which is slightly crusty in places, testifies to a ritual use of the piece, as do the smooth and shiny areas to which palm oil was applied many times during ancestor ceremonies.
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