VILI SEATED RELIQUARY FIGURE WITH ONE HAND...

Lot 20
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25 000 - 45 000 €

VILI SEATED RELIQUARY FIGURE WITH ONE HAND...

VILI SEATED RELIQUARY FIGURE WITH ONE HAND ON THE CHEEK, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
H. 5.11 in

Provenance:
- Collection Bela Hein, Paris
- Collection Gisèle Weinberg, Paris
- Collection privée, Paris
- Galerie Schoffel-Valluet, Paris
- Collection Béatrice et Patrick Caput, Paris

Publication:
- Patrick Caput et Valentine Plisnier, Arts d’Afrique.
Portraits d’une collection, 2016, p.86-87 Sitting cross-legged, this Vili character presents an incredible aesthetic force expressed here through the dynamism of its volumes and the majesty of its pose. The head is crowned with a short-cut hair style. The features are powerful and organised in keeping with rigorous geometry. Under the delicately arched eyebrows, the pierced almond eyes have a lovely expressiveness. The lips are generously hemmed. The peacefulness of the face echoes the movement of the body, evoking respect and meditation. The left arm is folded, the right hand delicately supports the cheek like an invitation to reflection. According to Frank Herreman, the attitude is in reference to the wisdom of a chief who thinks before he speaks or «the figure of an ancestor who meditates on death and weeps at the fate of those who come after him» (see Arts d’Afrique. Portraits d’une collection, p.76). Striking with its lovely dark, nuanced patina, the particularity of this work lies in the arrangement of its hollowed-out spaces, designed to hold medicines with spiritual properties and supernatural powers, called bilongo. As is generally the case in certain large Songye statues, these receptacles hollowed out in the head, stomach and base are connected to each other. This network thus enabled the power of the bilongo to move throughout the statuette.
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