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Vintage Kuba 'Ndop' figurine.

Vintage Kuba 'Ndop' figurine.

1 was available / Secondhand
auction closed
Indicative market price: R7,000


Joined 21 Feb 2009
Cape Town
bidorbuy ID: 255081183

 Vintage Kuba 'Ndop' figurine.


This is truly a fascinating ceremonial  BaKuba artifact 

This 'Ndop'  carving originates from the BaKuba, or 'Kuba' people of  The Democratic Republic of the Congo , the tradition of their creation dating back to the 17th Century.

When a BaKuba Bushongo  King ('Nyimi")  was about to pass away, one of these statues, made specifically to commemorate that  particular King's reign, would be placed near him to absorb his spirit and the figurine would then be passed on to the new King.
There are only a finite number of these pieces in existence, most in private collections and museums.

Such pieces sell for up to $1000 at online auctions.

This piece is believed to be authentic, although we have no formal certificate  of provenance. 

It formed part of  the collection of a respected South African collector and buyer of African art for museums. (now deceased)

It is unquestionably a Kuba artifact of some age.

It displays several typical characteristics of an Ndop carving - 


The King is seated cross legged upon a dais, wearing his ceremonial crossed waist sash and wrist bands. In his left hand he holds a symbolic object ('Ibol").  which most represents his reign. Unfortunately what the object is, is not clear. He has the royal 'Shody' crown. 

The right hand rests on the knee.

The wear to the surface of the figurine which has created its wonderfully aged patina would have been  from ritual rubbing with Camwood oil by the King's wives.

The typical  scarification pattern unique to the BaKuba people is visible on the back.

It must be noted that the piece does have a noticeable crack running through the bottom right at the base.

Height: 260mm

Width at base: 80mm.

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