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July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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|Bene Lulua, Democratic Republic of Congo|
Historically, the Bene Lulua carve figures of deities and ancestors such as this wonderfully rich example for use in personal and community shrines. They also carve amulets and charms for the same reasons, and many of these carvings have roles related to healing and preventing illness. While they were most likely used for the aforementioned purposes, these “tools” (for lack of a better term) may also have been a tool of a diviner or other personal shrine object, such as used as part of a “phuungu” figure, which served as “receptacles” of protective magical power that were used by Bene Lulua diviners to protect against illness, to avenge sorcery, and for supernatural assistance in hunting. This very special petite piece may represent a maternity figure, it could also represent an initiated figure carrying an uninitiated figure; the actual use is unknown. It has a dynamic, post-modernist design, despite being approximately a century old. It is also thought that figures of this type may have been part of the cult known as bwanga bwa cibola, a name that refers to its objective of alleviating sorrow and misfortune by boosting fertility, preventing miscarriage, and safeguarding newborns. This is achieved through a strict regimen requiring that the patient follow a prescribed set of rules, most of which regulate diet and behavior. Although the Luluwa direct their prayers toward a Supreme Being, Mfidi Mukulu, it is the ancestors (bakishi) who respond to them and intercede when those prayers are accompanied by offerings. Among the delicate operations the fertility specialist performs is to reincarnate a deceased ancestor in the newborn child. To accomplish this goal, he monitors the mother's lifestyle and prescribes protective "medicine," which she wears on her person and places in her home. In the case of infertility "medicines," a wooden figure (lupingu) may serve this function. There are two varieties of these representations: small, rudimentary ones and larger, more highly refined works, such as the present example. "Medicines" are both inserted into cavities within the figure's body and contained in attachments that are tied to it. It is probable that Lulua women each owned two figural artifacts, one of which always remained at home, while the other was carried suspended from a belt or around the neck. These figures were anointed with libations and applications of red clay, palm oil, and camwood powder. It is believed that once the goals of the initiation were successfully fulfilled, all ritual paraphernalia, including the wood figures, were destroyed. (Source: University of Iowa African Peoples, Christopher Roy). It is possible that a Lulua woman may have once owned this figure and used it for the aforementioned purposes, either tying it around her neck or keeping it suspended from a belt.
|Lot ID: 41|
|Low Estimate: $1,500|
|High Estimate: $4,500|
|Next Bid: $750|
|Sale ID: 6|
|Sale Date: July 28, 2016|
|Sale Location: Virtual Auction|
|Sale Sponsor: African Artworks from Berz Gallery of African Art|
|Sale Terms: View here|
|Live Bidding Link: SALE CLOSED|
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood, fiber, raffia, feathers, pigment stain, encrustation|
|Dimensions: 3'' (7.62 cm) height|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Democratic Republic of Congo|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Statue|
|Frobenius (Leo), "Bena Lulua", in Ethnograpische Notizen aus den Jahren 1905 und 1906, Hildegard Klein, ed.,vol.3, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1988:3-29|
Maes (Joseph), ", Figurines 'Pemba' dites Maternite des bena lulua", in L'Illustration Congolaise, no.220, January 1940:29-31
Maesen (Albert), "Statuire et culte de fécondité chez les Luluwa du Kasaï (zaïre)", in Quaderni Poro, 3, 1982:49-58
"Luluwa Masks", African Arts, XXXII, 3, 1999: 32-47
xxx"Mortier ou amulette?; Un récipient à caryatide luluwa", in Arts & Cultures. Geneva. The Association of Friends of the Barbier Müller Museum, 2009:124-137
Makiba Kalanda (Augusto), "Baluba et Lulua: une ethnie à la recherche d'un nouvel équilebre", Bruxelles: Remarques Congolaises, 1959:87
McLean (David), "The sons of Muntu. An rthnological study of the Bena Lulua tribe in South central Congo. Thesis, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 1962
McLean (David) & Ted J. Solomon, "Divination among the Bena Lulua", in Jornal of Religion in Africa, 4(1), Leiden: Brill, 1971
Raë (Marcellin), "Note d'histoire et de droit coutumier sur le litige Lulua-Baluba avant le 30 luin 1960", in Bulletin Acad. R. Sci. O.-M., VIII, 3, 1961:366-376
Raucq, (Paul), "Les relations entre tribus au Kasai. Leurs incidences géo-politiques et économiques", in Africa-Tervuren, VII, 2, 1961:47-58
Redinha (José), "Os Bena Mai da Luanda. Edição de Fundo de Tourismo e publicade, Luanda, 1965
Stappers (Leo), "Arbeidsvitaminen der Bana Luluwa-vrouwen", in Africa-Tervuren, X, 4, 1964:90-98
|Provenance: Ex. Philippe Laeremans, Brussels, Ex. Josef Herman Collection (believed to be Christie's Sale, 2000 of Herman collection); Exhibition History: Vetted by a committee of tribal art experts as authentic and exhibited by Galerie Philipe Laermans at BRUNEAF, Brussels, January 2016|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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