Luba figurative staff top


Vision of Luba Shankadi art

A carved staff top showing a beautiful patina and wear from age and much use. the figure is that of a female with the hair pulled back into three crests to the back of the head. The face is round and has large, closed eyes, small nose and large mouth with downward turning fleshy lips. The stomach is swollen representing pregnancy, and the arms are bent at the elbows with the hands supporting the large breasts. Below the large stomach is part of the shaft of the staff. Mounted on a custom made stand. 

The facial features and elaborate coiffure are symbolic of the Luba perceptions of ideal beauty. Women play an important part in Luba society and images of them are found in may items of everyday use. Luba chiefs, spiritual leaders and diviners all carry a staff, and the concept of authority in Luba society is represented by the figure of a woman. It is believed that women connect the spirit world with the world of humans. Women are believed to have special abilities because they carry two souls in their body when they are pregnant - their own and that of their child, and because of this they are considered to be stranger than men.  

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
Circa 1920 - 1930
22 cm
Ethnic group
Luba / Baluba / Louba
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Inheritance & Succession, Belgium
Ritually used object

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