Buyu (Boyo) Male Miniature Figure 13.5 Inch Congo
This figure, with scquare shoulders and scarified belly, exhibits a uniqe character. A Buyu Ancestor Figure; this elaborately carved figure comes from the region between the Luluaba River and lake Tanganyika an area of great historical, religious and artistic complexity. Reflecting this cultural complexity the Boyo are compromised of six distinct but related clans that share similar shapes but retain individual styles of art. This figure is attributed to the greater Buyu (or Basumba) style but can have an origin within a clan as yet undefined, perhaps from either the Hanga or Sumba (Basumba). Representing an honored chief such figures were kept on an altar in a shrine where they would be covered with a cloth around the shoulders and the lower abdomen. These figures were honored and left offerings of food and drink. As an ancestor the figure served as a point of contact with the heroic chiefs of the past to comfort and direct a supplicant s life. The scarification patterns on the face and abdomen are those of an ancestor that the figure represented.