Itombwe (friction oracle), Kuba people, Zaïre (DR Congo)
H: 7 cm (2,8″), L: 29,5 cm (11,6″), W: 4 cm (1,6″)
This Itombwe (friction oracle) instrument of divination is distinguished by the striking interpretation of a prominent local person. The dynamic of the stylized forms is accentuated by the tension of the head slightly raised, seeming to sound the voices of the spirits of nature (ngesh), of which the soothsayer calls the answers. Superb treatment of the surface, invaded by a deeply engraved decoration. This item is in very good condition overall with an exceptionally beautiful lustrous dark and crysty patina. Punctuated by the shade, reddish brown and brilliant back, whose flat surface was during the divination sessions used by the Medicine Man to put a powder on top of this ‘alter’ and rub it back and forth to ‘suck’ out the power. The patient must then eat or drink the powder in water to be healed or gain fertility.
Provenance: Collected in the Itombwe Moountains (or Itombwe Massif, Plateau – which are a range of mountains in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, before the 1970s) French/American private collection. Bought through a Paris dealer.
Age: Est. before 1970sRequest price for Itombwe oracle