Male Figure (Singiti)

A work made of wood.

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  • A work made of wood.

Date:

Mid–19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Hemba
Kongolo region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

With its serene expression, finely grooved beard, and elaborately constructed cross-shaped hairstyle, this figure embodies the composure, status, and wisdom of a respected elder. It was created to honor an important ancestor of a Hemba lineage, and its presence in a shrine house linked the past with the present while maintaining the ancestor’s influence within the community. It also provided a powerful ideological message about family continuity and legitimized the political authority inherited by the ancestor’s living kin. The figure’s prominent forehead suggests intelligence and may have been viewed as a dwelling place for the spirit.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artist

Hemba

Title

Male Figure (Singiti)

Origin

Democratic Republic of Congo

Date

1850–1925

Medium

Wood

Dimensions

H. 70.9 cm (27 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund

Reference Number

1972.453

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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