SALE END DATE AND TIME
July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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|Luba, Democratic Republic of Congo|
With a finely carved coiffure and detailed scarification, the figure carries a subtle power and energy which is hard to convey in photos. It has a rich, dark patina which shows evidence of age and use in a shrine setting, and an interesting feature in a copper wire "belt" near the base of the figure. Within the Luba kingdom, figures like this were at one time part of sacred staffs, chairs and stools, finials adorning other sacred objects, or standalone shrine, fetish or royalty-ordained figures.
For example, traditionally in Luba tribe society, utilitarian objects which often integrated standing or seated female images were used for kings and important chiefs, who defined their power by the display of prestige objects during important ceremonies. Stools were among the most important of these objects. Luba chiefs were literally and figuratively supported by a female caryatid figure, which also symbolized the continuity of power in their matrilineal society. This figure is too small to be such a figure, but one cannot eliminate the possibility that it was part of a piece of royal furniture.
Also not likely, but possible, is the potential for the figure to be the top of a prestige staff. Staffs played a central role in Luba kingship systems, and as the Luba spread their political influence to their neighbors through alliances and treatises, the objects that represented power among the Luba spread to their neighbors as well. The first Luba Empire was founded in the 16th century by Nkongolo, (who is said to have been a Songye tribesman) and staffs were an important object within the Luba kingship.
Perhaps most likely is the figure had some sort of maternity/fetish function as part of a shrine or other sacred setting. The patina seems to indicate some shrine use, with areas of tiny sediment and encrustation which likely predated the handling the object has endured since its presence in important Western collections.
|Lot ID: 38|
|Low Estimate: $1,800|
|High Estimate: $3,500|
|Next Bid: $950|
|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 (one piece), stain, oils, copper, encrustation|
|Dimensions: 6" (15.24 cm) height x 2" (5.08 cm) width|
|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|
|Photo source: Luba chief in the 1922 book Missionary pioneering in Congo forests: a narrative of the labours of William F.P. Burton and his companions in the native villages of Luba-Land” (p. 196). Expertise: Aghte (Johanna), ""Luba Hemba. Werke unbekannter Meister. Sculptures by unknown masters"", Museum für Völkerkunde, Frankfurt am Main, 1983|
Bettencourt de Faria, ""O arremesso com arco e setas nas tribos Quioca, Camatapa e Baluba"", in Mensário Administrativon 1960:41-55, 155-160
Colle (Reverend Pierre), ""Les Baluba"", vol. II, Brussels 1913
Felix (Marc Leo), ""Luba Zoo: Kifwebe and other striped masks"", Brussels: Zaire Basin Art History Research Center, Occasional Paper, June 1992
Maesen (Albert), ""Une statue d'ancetre Hemba"", Africa-Tervuren XX-1974
Mahauden (Charles), ""Kisongokimo chasse et magie chez les Balubas"", Paris: Flammarion, 1965
Makiba Kalanda (Augusto), ""Baluba et Lulua: une ethnie à la recherche d'un nouvel équilebre"", Bruxelles: Remarques Congolaises, 1959:87
Mutimanwa Wenga-Mulayi, ""Etude Socio-Morphologique Des Masques Blancs Luba ou Bifwebe"", 1973-1974
Neyt (François) & de Strijcker (Louis), ""Approche des Arts Hemba"", Arnouville: Collection Arts d'Afrique Noire, 1974
Nooter (Mary H.), ""Luba Art and Statecraft: Creating Power in a Central African Kingdom"", New York, 1991
Nooter Roberts (Mary), ""The Naming Game. Ideologies of Luba Artitic Identity"", in: African Arts, Vol. XXXI, #4, Autumn 1998
Petit (Pierre), ""Jagers, mediums en chefs. Variaties op het thema van het rituele voorwerp bij de Luba (Zaïre)"", in ""Het object als bemiddelaar"" by Holsbeke (Mireille), Etnografisch Museum Stad Antwerpen, 1996""
|Provenance: Ex. Jean Paul Agogue, Paris, Ex. Jo de Buck, Brussels; Exhibition History: Vetted by a committee of tribal art experts as antique and authentic and exhibited at BRUNEAF Brussels, January 2014|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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