29 May 2001
A FINE LULUA HALF FIGURE
For use by Bwanga bwa cibola cult members
The half figure with carved necklace, the face with large eyes and scarified cheeks, coiffure with tuft at top, on tapered shaft
Josef Herman, London
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Attenborough, D. and Waterfield, H. et al., Miniature African Sculptures from the Herman Collection, London, 1985, p.60, fig.47
Durham, Bristol, Swansea, Sheffield, Coventry, organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1985
The Benelulua make carvings for various cults which protect the well being of the members. The present one was almost certainly made for bwanga bwa cibola, to protect the mother during pregnancy and ensure an easy and successful birth. It was taken everywhere by the woman for whom it was made, and if she or her child fell ill offerings were made to it. It would have been anointed with camwood powder and oil, and made more efficacious by the application of potent parts of electric eels, scorpions and serpent venom.
Christie's charge a buyer's premium of 20.825% of the hammer price for lots with values up to NLG 200,000. If the hammer price exceeds the NLG 200,000 then the premium is calculated at 20.825% of the first NLG 200,000 plus 11.9% of any amount in excess of NLG 200,000.
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