In African art, a panel of objects, the regalia, made up of headdresses, seats, weapons, crowns, scepters, cups and drinking horns, belong to the chiefs. They magnify and reinforce their authority. An emblem of power and prestige, this fly swatter is sculpted with a figure of a singiti ancestor.
Satin brown patina.
The Hemba, established in the south-east of Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, have long been subject to the neighboring Luba empire which had a certain influence on their culture. The cult of ancestors, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central in Hemba society.
The singiti statues were preserved by the fumu mwalo and honored during ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Alongside the authority of hereditary chiefs, secret societies, male such as the bukazanzi, and female, the bukibilo, played a major role within the clan.
(Source: “Treasures of Africa, Tervuren Museum; “Tribal Art of Black Africa” J.B. Bacquart; “Congo River”, F.Neyt)
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