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, African Collection
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.