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Provenance & Expertise
Pende “Mbangu” Dancer figure: wood white and black pigmentation, rope fiber, red abrus seeds, human hair, basket fiber, cloth, and leather-fetish bags. From the region of central”Bandundu” province, Democratic Republic of the Congo; ex-collection of a Belgium ivory merchant first collected in 1948, then later sold to a professor at the University of Antwerp, height 63cm. The “Mbangu” dancer represents a bewitched, entity that the local sorcerers, have possessed. The dancer is depicted has a humpback, which has been inflicted by the invisible arrows of the sorcerers, cased spells. The metaphor communicates the scenario and the perception of sudden illness and misfortune. Depicted on the deter arm of the dancer e wears a wooden bell, carried by hunting dogs and its distinctive hollow sound, underscores the feints of the dancer, and symbolizes the life, death and struggle taking place in the dancers human deformity. “Mbangu” is both the hunted and the hunter as he desperately searches for the sorcerers who disabled him. The “Mbangu” dancer is bewitched; but since the Pende, people view the world’s attributes and all illness and personal misfortune as the malice of others what is really at the issue is the chronic illness or disability and our response to it.
Description: this sculptural figure has depicted a deformed humpback male dancer, with signs of smallpox. Traces on the skin show boil, eruptions and localized swelling or inflammation on the sinister side of the neck; and the dropsically, pulled –down effect of one side of its face was caused by a paralysis facial nerve. The dancer also depicts a swollen abdomen an enlargement of his testicles caused by testicular cancer.
Expertise by Maxwell Price
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