Kongo Artist, Yombe Region, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, or Angola
Mother and Child Figure
Late nineteenth–early twentieth century
Wood, brass tacks, and glass
12 3/4 × 4 1/4 × 4 inches
Fred and Rita Richman Collection
On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 102
This sculpture was made to be used within the context of Mpemba, an organization concerned with fertility and the treatment of infertility, founded by a famous Kongo midwife. The female figure’s studded cap, chiseled teeth, and scarification indicate her aristocratic status. Both the brass tacks and the glass eyes were imported. The light-reflecting glass was associated with an ability to see into invisible spiritual and ancestral realms.