Metoko Artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Male and Female Figures
Fred and Rita Richman Collection
On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 102, African Collection
In Metoko societies, paired male and female figures representing husband and wife were used in initiation rites to confer the status of kasimbi, one of the highest ranks within the association called Bukota, whose membership included both men and women. The paired figures provided behavioral models, encouraged healing, and promoted peace. The Richmans have made couples—an important subject in African art—a special theme in their collecting. These sculptures represent idealized images of men and women who bear the potential to give birth to future generations. Without children, one does not become an ancestor.