Mother and Child Figure

Mother and Child Figure

late 1800s-early 1900s

Wood and paint

Overall: 64.7 cm (25 1/2 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1997.149


The Kongo people inhabit a large territory now divided among the nations of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cabinda, and Angola. The mother and child theme is common in the carving of the Yombe, one of the many Kongo ethnic groups; this example is distinguished by the emotionally powerful expression of the mother's gaunt face. The large size and soft wood of this sculpture indicate a funerary function and placement within a roofed ancestral shrine. The Yombe woman represented was clearly powerful; perhaps her fertility was critical to the survival and prosperity of her clan.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

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