DRC, Congo- Mid 20th century - Good condition-Provenance Gaëtan Schoonbroodt, Verviers.
A fine Kuba Itumba friction oracle with two heads, half men, half animal.
Provenance Gaëtan Schoonbroodt, Verviers.
W= 31 cm. Wood, complete with the rubber and rope, black pigments, fine patination , and extensive signs of use. On a wood stand.
Fine Kuba motives on the side
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. 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.
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Please note: seller guarantees this statue authenticity.
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