Ancestor statue (lusingiti, plural singiti) of the Hemba people

Hemba [people]1930


Antwerp, Belgium

This ancestor statue (lusingiti) is a highlight of the MAS collection. It has a remarkable history. The Hemba masterpiece was purchased for a substantial sum of money by the City of Antwerp in 1931. In 1937-38, it was the centrepiece of pioneering exhibition, ‘Congolese Art’, in the City Festival Hall. The organizer, Belgian professor Frans Olbrechts, chose it as the eye-catcher for the poster.

Since then, it has been displayed and described time and again. In 1952, French writer André Malraux included it in his publication 'Le Musée imaginaire de la sculpture mondiale', an imaginary museum of the most important works of art from world history. It was also exhibited at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958.

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  • Title: Ancestor statue (lusingiti, plural singiti) of the Hemba people
  • Creator: Hemba [people]
  • Date Created: 1930
  • Location: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Physical Dimensions: height: 89cm – width: 22.5cm – depth: 22cm
  • Subject Keywords: Ethnographic collection
  • Type: Figure
  • Medium: Wood, oil
  • ID: AE.0864
  • Department: Ethnographic collection – Africa
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Charles Leirens (1931)