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Azande Figure

Ubangi, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Carved wood and metal
Early 20th century
Height: 8 ¼ in. (21 cm)

Collected by the missionaries of Vicariaat of Bondo (possibly Reverend Father Lantin)
Kruisheren of Vicariaat Bondo (1920-1925)

Ex Christie’s Paris – June 7th, 2005, lot 258
Ex private collection in Paris since 2005

Published in:
Yanda-Beelden en Mani-Sekte bij de Azande (Centraal-Afrika), Annales du Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, n° 4, H. Burssens, 1962, pl. VIII #77/78

Price: sold

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This figure is a classical example of ancient Ubangi art.
Zande statuettes were used in the Mani ceremonies. They were called « yanda » («the spirit», «the force»), and were thought to be female figures. They were used for curing, protection and divination purposes.

This 21 cm high figure is particularly touching.
The face with stylized features and the geometric, almost cubistic construction convey an intense sense of power and poetry.
The deep, shiny patina attests to the ritual use and age of this figure. The onamentation of the statuette, with metal earrings is also noteworthy.

In terms of provenance, this Zande figure was collection by the "Pères Croisiers » (Crosier fathers) missionaries of the Bondo Vicariat (possiby Rev. Father Lantin) between 1920 and 1925.

This figure is illustrated in the reference book by Burssens, "Yanda-Beelden en Mani-Sekte bij de Azande (Centraal-Afrika)" in Annales du Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, n° 4, 1962, pl. VIII 1 #77 & 78 (front view and profile).