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Janus figure
Pre-Bembe

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ase’a janus amulet
Pre-Bembe (Basikasingo)

Carved wood and raffia
Early 20th century
Height: 2¾ in. (7 cm)

Ex collection Bernd Muhlack, Kiel, Germany
Ex collection David Serra, Barcelona

Price: sold

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As stated by Daniel P. Biebuyck ("Statuary from the pre-Bembe hunters", Tervuren: The Royal Museum of Central Africa, 1981), “this sculpture called 'ase'a was used in the nguwe rites of the Bwami association, not as an ancestral representation, but as an initiation object that conveyed the far-reaching wisdom and keen sense of equity of the high initiate”