African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Hemba stool
Hemba Kihona stool (N° 18744)
Supporting a circular tray with her fingers placed in a fan shape, a female figure sculpted in the style of the "master of Buli" forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts).
The prominent scarifications, in spikes, dot the bust where the umbilicus forms the "center of the world" associated with lineage, and on the lower abdomen, horizontal, they symbolize fertility. This stool named lupona ,or kioni or kipona , kiona and again kitenta ("seat of authority"), according to the sources, constitutes the meeting point of the ruler, his people, and the protective spirits and ancestors, where past and present are symbolically and spiritually mixed. It once formed the seat on which the king mulopwe was enthroned. The seats were laid out on leopard skins during the investiture of the new chief. Only after sitting on it did his speech assume a royal and divine character. Apart from these exceptional circumstances, the seats were not used and remained stored in secret locations. The hemba seats, with similar characteristics, are named kihona .
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The Hemba have long been subject to the neighboring Luba Empire, which has had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art.
Skilled in sculpture, the Hemba produced mostly statues of ancestors singiti , embodying chiefs, local warriors, or lineage ancestors whom they venerate in order to appease the spirits mizimus . A wide variety of ritual objects, fetishes, simian masks, calabashes, and others of everyday use made their fame.
Source "Africa, The Art of a Continent" ed. Prestel; "Luba" F. Neyt.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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