Advanced Search

K-12 Educator
K-12 Student
Museum Visitor
UMMA Docent
UMMA Staff
University Faculty
University Student
Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

Query builder

Maternity Figure

Accession Number

Maternity Figure


Artist Nationality
Yombe (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1900

Medium & Support

4 3/8 in x 1 3/8 in x 1 1/2 in (11.1 cm x 3.5 cm x 3.8 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Denise Miner Stanford

Subject matter
Yombe sculptural objects depicting a mother and a child are known as PhembaPhemba often take two forms: women holding, cradling, or carrying a child and women nursing a child. This object falls into the former category. According to oral history, the Yombe are descended from Mbangala who had 9 daughters, each the founder of a separate clan. Thus, Yombe depictions of females with children represent more than fecundity and their role as nurturer and care-taker; they also pay homage to the Yombe's matrilineal pattern of descent. 

References Cited:
Felix, Marc Leo.  100 Peoples of Zaire and Their Sculpture:  The Handbook.  Brussels:  Zaire Basin Art History Research Foundation, 1987.  

Physical Description
Carved wooden object depicting a female figure with flexed knees carrying a child on her back.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
figures (representations)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted