Hemba janus rattle Minyange

Hemba people, Kasai, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Late 19th to early 20th century

According to François Neyt (Arts traditionnels et histoire au Zaire, Louvain-la-Neuve, U.C.L., 1981), the Minyange rattle was used by a specific sect called Bagado. Other scholars suggest that they could also have been used by diviners, in healing rituals.

On this rare janus example, the handle represents human torsos back to back, with heads.

The tension and details in the facial features are trully impressive and denote the serene expression of interiority found on the best larger Hemba community statues.

Judging from the quality of the sculpture, it is probable that such implements were carved by the same sculptors as the larger community figures.

The piece is in good condition, with a deep patina of use, and sits on a custom base by Romain Laforêt.

Provenance: Seward Kennedy, London ; Jonathan Hope, London.

H: 23,5 cm (9 1/4 inches)

Price: 2500 Euros enquiry