African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Luba seat
Luba / Zula Kipona seat (N° 18708)
Ex-collection British African tribal art.
Sacrality of the carved seats, regalia of prestige, in the primitive African art. A female figure squatting with legs widely apart (Zula style), supporting the tray of a circular seat, forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). The protruding scarification marks converging towards the umbilicus, the "center of the world" associated with lineage, bear witness to notions of fertility. This stool named lupona ,or kioni ,kipona , kiona , according to the sources, is the meeting point of the sovereign, his people, and the protecting spirits and ancestors, where past and present symbolically and spiritually mingle. It once formed the foundation on which the king was enthroned. The seats were laid out on leopard skins when the new chief was inaugurated. It was only after he sat down that his address took on a royal and divine character. Other than in exceptional circumstances, the seats were not used and were stored in secret locations.
The cradle of the Luba (Baluba in chiluba) is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu river. They were born from a secession of the Songhoy ethnic group. In the 16th century they created a state, organized in decentralized chiefdoms, which extended from the Kasai River to Lake Tanganyika. The chiefdoms cover a small territory without any real border that includes at most three villages.
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