In 1933 Dr H L Gordon donated a group of Kamba figures to the British Museum. Among them was a work from the same sculptor as the present figure (Af1933,1122.16 image reproduced here) which he collected in Kitui. This group today forms a reference body of works when it comes to studying early Kamba sculpture.
According to "Africa, The art of a continent" "such figure were probably used in connexion with the cult of the ancestors and may have represented clan founders and important helders".
The present figure depicts a female character, fully adorned with metal jewelery and face scarifications, confidently standing with both hands behind the back. The sensibility and presence of this sculpture are trully amazing, denoting an early work made for ceremonial use.
The wood is dark brown with slight variations of tone and the surface is oxidized and shiny (I think it was rubbed at some point as only some dirt remains under the neck and upper arms metal chains)
Provenance: British collection.
H: 21 cm (8 1/3 inches)
Price: 2800 Euros enquiry