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  4. Phemba maternity figurine - KONGO / YOMBE - DRC, former Zaïre

Phemba maternity figurine - KONGO / YOMBE - DRC, former Zaïre

Lot reference 12920087

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$ 422 Bidder 9114
16-08-2017 21:07:15
$ 375 Bidder 8184
16-08-2017 21:06:14
$ 363 Bidder 9114
16-08-2017 21:06:14
$ 328 Bidder 8184
16-08-2017 21:05:13
$ 305 Bidder 9114
16-08-2017 21:05:13
$ 263 Bidder 8184
16-08-2017 21:04:16
$ 240 Bidder 9114
16-08-2017 21:04:16

Estimated age: between 1960 and 1970 - Very nice condition

Ethnic group: KONGO / BAKONGO.
Country of origin: Democratic Republic of Congo. .
Area of collection: Democratic Republic of Congo. Kinshasa.
Estimated age: between 1960 and 1970.
Main material: wood.
Surface aspect: used.
Apparent condition: very good condition.
State of preservation: in its original condition.
Provenance: former private collection, France.
Height, in cm: 60 x 16 cm.
Weight, in grams: 4369 grams.


Maternity “representations” of the MAYOMBE and from the coastal region of the KONGO country are among the most charming of African art because of their universal theme, their naturalism and their formal perfection.

These figurine were named Pfemba or Phemba.

They were used for a feminine fecundity cult set up by a midwife.

Different artworks often depict women who are breastfeeding.

According to Lehuard (page 121 of the book “La maternité dans l’Afrique Noire”, Maternity in Black Africa, G. Massa, Sépia editions), children with stiff legs are dead, whereas living children have their legs bent at the level of the knees.
The figurine is supposed to depict a scene in which the wife of a chief presents to her husband their first living child or stillborn, or who died right after birth.

In his book “Kongo”, page 85, Marc Léo Félix tells us that these figurines are the effigies of the female founder of the clan or of a ruling woman.
These objects were the property of the chief.

Other sources mention that these figurines were smeared and rubbed with a red vegetable coating which acts as an intermediate agent between transitory states of birth and death.

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Feedback score: 99.1%
Reviews given: 118
Member since: August 6, 2016
  • Figuras exquisitas. Trato profesional y muy amable. Envío rápido y buen embalaje. Good seller!.

    kiti14 October 18, 2017

  • Please note: some elements on this page have been translated automatically.
    Very satisfeid with the figures - thank you!

    Ringwald October 13, 2017

  • Please note: some elements on this page have been translated automatically.
    Un masque d'une grande beauté à un prix raisonnable envoyé rapidement et emballé avec soin. Tout baigne!!!

    Dankaertseeke October 11, 2017

  • Please note: some elements on this page have been translated automatically.
    Good object - but the stand offered as included was not sent. Seller promised compensation for missing stand, but didn't pay the compensation and didn't react to reminder. Finally money received.

    KlausPaul October 11, 2017

  • Please note: some elements on this page have been translated automatically.
    Very well packed.

    pippocane September 29, 2017

View all 118 reviews

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Austria $ 38.48
Belgium $ 14.67
Canada $ 76.96
Switzerland $ 38.48
Germany $ 19.24
Denmark $ 38.48
Spain $ 38.48
France $ 16.43
United Kingdom $ 19.24
Ireland $ 38.48
Italy $ 38.48
Luxembourg $ 19.24
Netherlands $ 19.24
Norway $ 38.48
Poland $ 38.48
Portugal $ 38.48
Sweden $ 38.48
United States $ 38.48
Rest of Europe $ 38.48
Rest of the World $ 76.96

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