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Ritual Head

A work made of wood, animal fur (contemporary facsimile based on period examples), and twine.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of wood, animal fur (contemporary facsimile based on period examples), and twine.


Mid–/late 19th century


Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

This male ritual head bears the crossed coiffure and regal, elongated face with arched brows and almond-shaped eyes that are characteristic of Hemba sculpture. The fur attached to the base of this sculpture is not original. This sculpture was possibly once kept in a basket or gourd and would have been used by the head of the clan to foster communication between the living and the ancestral realm.


Currently Off View


Arts of Africa


Hemba (Creator of work depicted)


Ritual Head


Democratic Republic of the Congo (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Wood, animal fur (contemporary facsimile based on period examples), and twine


33 × 17.8 × 14 cm (13 × 7 × 5 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Anne Reisse Whipple and Jay Whipple in memory of Wilbur Tuggle

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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