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Yombe maternity figures in ivory?

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  • RAND (Rand African Art)
    Hi group - Someone recently emailed me about Yombe Phemba figures with a specific question that I d like to throw out to the group: Dear Sir, I have greatly
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 24, 2007
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      Hi group -
       
      Someone recently emailed me about Yombe Phemba figures with a specific question that I'd like to throw out to the group:
      "Dear Sir,
       
      I have greatly appreciated your chapter on Yombe maternity figures on your website. Apparently, all the examples you show are made in wood. Have you ever seen examples of such figures in ivory?"
       
      My Yombe Phemba page the person is referring to:
       
      This person sent me photos of a figure and asked "I am wondering whether or not this piece (its height is 15 cm) could have been made for traditional use."
       
      The photos of the piece are relatively unimportant to the first question in my opinion, but I will ask the person if they mind me posting the photos of their figure to the group if needed. The figure the person sent me photos of is similar in general style to my Phemba figure.
       
      I have looked through a LOT of examples of these kinds of figures and made a lot of them accessible in one place on my website, but in all of my looking I have only come across figures in ivory that were meant to be part of a staff (examples in the link below) and not figures that were like the traditional Phemba figures with a flat base that were intended to be stand alone figures.
       
       
      Does anyone in the group have any experience seeing older, documented, traditional styled Phemba figures that were made of ivory instead of wood that were not intended to be a part of a staff like the ones in the link above?
       
      There was one figure in a gallery (Afrique Noire) in Paris for Parcours des mondes that the figural part of the object appeared to be in ivory, if my memory serves me correctly, that was part of a pestle (in wood) which can be seen in the link below, but still it was part of another object and not a stand alone figure:
       
      Does anyone have an opinion whether the making of traditional styled sitting Phemba figures in ivory was a more recent innovation specifically for the collecting market or possibly traditionally made from ivory as well as wood?
       
      I've only come across figures in ivory over the last few years that I believe were made specifically for the collecting market and have not come across any old examples in any of the books that I have that were made in ivory except for examples that were part of staffs.
       
      Just curious to see if others had any thoughts/opinions.
       
      Cheers!
      RAND
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