Overall Condition: Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners
Damage/Repair: damaged base, damaged top of head area
The Hemba people, dwelling in the southeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Congo River, have a history tracing back to a possible migration from northeastern areas around the late 16th century, potentially modern-day Tanzania. In the 1800s, leaders like Niembo and Myhiya established Hemba settlements along the Congo River, resisting assimilation attempts by the nearby Luba kingdom yet absorbing influences from their art. Hemba culture revolves significantly around art, notably their distinct carved wooden figures portraying male ancestors or chiefs, characterized by elongated proportions and intricate details like scarification patterns and traditional attire. Facing challenges from Arab slave traders and Belgian colonization in the late 19th century, these events significantly shaped Hemba society. Despite these historical adversities, the Hemba persist in preserving their cultural traditions, particularly their unique art forms, navigating the complexities of the contemporary world while cherishing a heritage deeply rooted in their history and neighboring influences.