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Itumba Bashilele friction oracle , Democratic Republic of the Congo

Lot reference 12840233

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DRC, Congo- Early 20th century - Good condition-Provenance Gallery Schoffel de Fabry

A fine Lele Itumba friction oracle, half men, half animal.
Provenance ex-collection Gallery Schoffel de Fabry, Paris

W= 32 cm. Wood, complete with the rubber and rope, black pigments, camwood powder remains, fine patination , and extensive signs of use.

Kuba artists of south central Democratic Republic of the Congo create friction oracles known as itombwa. Regarded as infallible divinatory instruments, itombwa were used by the Ding, Kuba, Lele, Luluwa and Wongo peoples to mediate between diviners and omniscient nature spirits in order to determine the cause of illnesses and appropriate courses of treatment, as well as to expose dishonesty.
Itombwa often take the form of half man half animal figure, the back of the animal forming the rubbing surface. The animals, such as crocodiles, bush pigs or dogs, are associated with hunting prey or rooting out a plant, thus symbolizing a diviner's quest for knowledge and insight, as the diviner seeks to uncover the agent or cause of misfortune, controversy and suffering.
To quote William Sheppard, the first outsider to visit the Kuba capitol at Nsheng in 1892, "The [diviner] rubs the button-like attachment over the back of the animal. If it sticks the person in question is guilty, otherwise innocent…. [The] crocodile never lies is the native saying." The friction, that is the smooth movement of the wooden rubber, is created by the addition of specially prepared root juices and oil as it is used by the diviner. Traces of red camwood powder may still be seen, typical of the finishing touch on almost all Kuba carvings. The surface of this itombwa is carved with simple geometric ornamentation around the upper torso, legs and neck. It does still have its wooden rubber.

Photo: 1978 notes from Patric Claes about the Lele Itumba.

A collection from various sources, among them a fine lele mask, a complete Kuba costume, and more .. See images
This statue from David Norden's collection is sold with a written description of the tribe and David Norden private opinion .
May be viewed or picked up in David Norden's Buy African Antiques Shop in Antwerp.
Free shipping worldwide .
Please note: seller guarantees this statue authenticity.

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Reviews given: 102
Member since: July 1, 2014
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    vraiment très bien. bel objet conforme au catalogue, et parfaitement emballé
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    HEBERT-MORLON June 27, 2018

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    Schönes Stück, zugig und hervorragend gepackt geliefert. Sehr empfehlenswert.
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    MPOKL June 25, 2018

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    keesbennema June 21, 2018

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