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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.

Be David Norden Buy African Antiques.  pro

Feedback score: 98.7%
Reviews given: 79
Member since: July 1, 2014
  • thanks

    KaptanKrunch November 12, 2017

  • Please note: some elements on this page have been translated automatically.
    Toujours du Grand D.Norden = Très beau masque Goli avec belle patine d'utilisation- pigments rouges intenses-FANTASTIQUE
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    lovviere October 18, 2017

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    Alles perfect in orde. Zeer goede aankoop.
    Nogmaals dank. Jos belde
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    Josbelde October 9, 2017

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    Allways perfect transactions, excellent seller.
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    fernando4878 August 31, 2017

  • Please note: some elements on this page have been translated automatically.
    Ce masque Guere/Wobe dégage à la fois force et sérénité. De plus le masque a été livré en 24h chrono!!! Du jamais vu......
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    lovviere August 24, 2017

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