Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ceremonial Staff: Female Figure Base (Kibango)

Date:
19th–20th century
Geography:
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Culture:
Luba peoples
Medium:
Wood, iron, copper
Dimensions:
H. 57 7/8 x W. 4 1/8 x D. 2 3/4in. (147 x 10.5 x 7cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.298
Not on view
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a flourishing Luba sculptural tradition that was designed to identify and glorify the king, chiefs, and titled officials who constituted the complex hierarchy of leadership within the Luba empire. Like many African peoples, the Luba consider their kings to be divine, endowed with supernatural powers that can influence social well-being and the productivity of the land. As descendants of the empire's founders, Luba leaders possess bulopwe, sacred blood, which enables them to rule and entitles them to own magnificent regalia, including carved wooden objects, metal articles, beads, fur, and feathers. Luba rites of royal investiture center on the transferal of these articles of insignia, which are considered the embodiment of the very essence of kingship. The sculptural forms within this collection derive from such utilitarian implements as three-pronged bow rests and paddle-shaped staffs, objects that recall the hunting and fishing economy of the Luba past.
[Merton D. Simpson, New York, until 1969]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1969, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1969–1978

Related Objects

Male Diviner's Figure

Artist: Date: 19th–mid-20th century
Accession Number: 1978.412.390
Date: 19th–mid-20th century Medium: Wood, pigment, beads, iron Accession: 1978.412.390 On view in:Gallery 352

Monstrous male figure

Artist: Date: ca. late 3rd–early 2nd millennium B.C.
Accession Number: 2010.166
Date: ca. late 3rd–early 2nd millennium B.C. Medium: Chlorite, calcite, gold, iron Accession: 2010.166 On view in:Gallery 403

Pipe: Head

Artist: Date: 19th–20th century
Accession Number: 1978.412.546
Date: 19th–20th century Medium: Wood, iron, copper wire Accession: 1978.412.546 On view in:Gallery 352

Staff: Female Figure

Artist: Date: 19th–20th century
Accession Number: 1979.206.223
Date: 19th–20th century Medium: Iron Accession: 1979.206.223 On view in:Gallery 350

Figure

Artist: Date: 19th–20th century
Accession Number: 1987.446.5
Date: 19th–20th century Medium: Wood, metal Accession: 1987.446.5 On view in:Not on view