Azande Standing Figure Congo
The Azande people are an ethnic group that primarily inhabit parts of Central Africa, including parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. They are known for their intricate and detailed carvings, which are often made from wood and other natural materials.
Azande carvings typically depict animals, human figures, and abstract designs. The animals that are commonly depicted include elephants, lions, and crocodiles, while human figures are often portrayed in elaborate ceremonial dress. The abstract designs are often used to represent important cultural and spiritual concepts.
The Azande people are also known for their use of divination boards, which are used to communicate with the spirit world. These boards are often decorated with intricate carvings that represent different spirits and concepts.
Overall, Azande carvings are highly valued for their aesthetic and cultural significance. They continue to be produced and collected by art enthusiasts and collectors around the world.
The ethnic term Azande refers to a culturally diverse group of peoples who, over the past two hundred years, have been brought together under the governments of a number of distinct kingdoms. Little is known of their history prior to this period. Reliable first-hand accounts of the Azande only began to appear toward the middle of the nineteenth century. By the 1950s, however, the Azande had become well known to anthropologists through the work of British anthropologist Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard (1902‚Äì73).
Figures among the Azande (Zande) known as Yanda, served to represent ancestral or protective spirits who looked over the members of an Azande cult known as Mani (This cult was also shared by close neighbors the Mangbetu). Figures either carved of wood or shaped out of clay were used by senior male members of Mani, known as Bandakpa, to cure illnesses, forestall spells or to cast spells or attach a witch to an enemy.
The Mani cult enrolled women and men and worked to assure health and to secure wealth and prosperity for the cult member. These charming figures takes their color from the magical application of roots, plants, bark and seeds called Libele by the Azande. Local scarification patterns worn by the people are also carved onto the face and thighs and genitals of the figure.
Zande sculpture was also thought to be related to that of their neighbors the Ngbaka and the Ngbande. These highly abstracted figures are today not common as most were thought to be made during the first third of the 20th Century.