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Dimensions: L:31.5in W:13in D:13in
Mangbetu Terracotta artwork is characterized by its distinctive style and intricate detailing. The pieces are typically made from clay or terracotta and are fired in kilns or open fires to achieve the desired hardness. The artwork encompasses a wide range of objects, including vessels, figurines, masks, and ceremonial objects. One notable feature of Mangbetu Terracotta artwork is the elongated and elegant forms. The sculptures often depict human figures with elongated skull and necks, slender bodies, and finely detailed facial features. This unique aesthetic is believed to reflect the Mangbetu's cultural practice of skull and neck elongation, where young girls traditionally wore neck rings to create the appearance of elongated necks.
About the Tribe
The Mangbetu also spelled Monbuttu refers to an amalgam of linguistically and culturally related people in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The Mangbetu people migrated from modern day Sudan during the 19th century. The group comprises of the Mangbetu, Meegye, Makere, Malele, Popoi and Abelu. The language of the Mangbetu is referred to as Kingbetu. Their elongated heads gave them a distinctive look. At birth the heads of babies were tightly wrapped with cloth in order to give their heads the elongated look. Deformation usually starts just a month after birth for the next couple of years, until the desired shape has been reached or the child rejects the apparatus. The custom of skull elongation, called Lipombo by the natives, was a status symbol among the Mangbetu ruling classes, it denoted majesty, beauty, power and higher intelligence.
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