Nail Fetish Statue. Yombe. Maternal Figure. Carving. Congo. DRC. Africa.
The vast Yombe area – the forested region of the Lower Zaire River – represents an important geographic chapter in the artistic history of black Africa. It has the greatest, most prolific and finest concentration of maternity figures and stone statuary.
The Yombe female phemba statues are used in divinatory practices and/or associated with fertility rites. Most are carved in realistic style to avoid any creative influence by the artisan.
Rarely do you see a pregnant nail fetish female. In this case, the woman is not only considered a nurturing force but – most importantly – she is seen as a “seer” but also a guardian of the spirit of some ancestor or wealthy/powerful member of the local community.
Further, rarely do you see such a statue chewing on a yam root with an empty basket on its back. It seems that fertility, wealth and agricultural abundance are all rolled up in one powerful statue. The yam – nyami – is the second highest key crop for African food security.
Immense power is what makes this statue so rare.
A must of the Serious Collector.