Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, probably Ngbandi people, late 19th-early 20th century
wood, copper, glass beads, iron, fabric, Overall - h:45.00 w:15.50 d:9.20 cm (h:17 11/16 w:6 1/16 d:3 9/16 inches). René and Odette Delenne Collection, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.459.1
Although this pair has been attributed to the Ngbandi, many of the style characteristics identified as typical of that culture are in fact shared with its neighbors the Ngbaka- Minagende, among others. Carving of paired figures is quite well documented among the Ngbaka-Minagende, where such sculptures are said to represent the mythical ancestor Seto and his sister-wife, Nabo. But field-based research cannot confirm the existence of figurative couples among the Ngbandi. Were all such Ngbandi-style couples created by Ngbandi artists for a neighboring Ngbaka-Minagende community or another Ubangi group? Or do they instead refer to a more localized tradition that was never documented by foreign observers?