Northern Angola, where the Songo peoples reside, experienced the rise of wealthy and powerful states in the 16th and 17th centuries. This began a tradition of chiefs collecting art objects to display their status, such as finely carved chairs, staffs and ceremonial weapons. Most figural depictions in Songo works are portraits of members of the chief's family, both living and ancestral and are often female, as their society is matrilineal. The style of Songo carvings are similar to those of the closely related Chokwe and Yaka peoples and are characterized by finely incised geometric designs, as seen on the finial of the present lot. While it is common to see elaborately carved coiffures and headdresses on these figures, this example is striking in its elegant simplicity.

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