African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Luba Stool
Luba Stool (N° 22495)
British African Art Collection.
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Sacrality of sculpted seats, prestigious regalia, in primitive African art. A squatting female figure with legs wide apart (Zula style), supporting the top with a circular seat, forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). The prominent scarifications converging towards the umbilicus, "center of the world" associated with the lineage, testify to notions of fertility. This stool named lupona, or kioni, kipona, kiona, depending on the sources, constitutes the meeting point of the sovereign, his people, and the protective spirits and ancestors, where past and present mingle symbolically and spiritually. It once formed the seat on which the king was enthroned. The seats were arranged on leopard skins during the investiture of the new leader. Only after sitting there did his speech take on a royal and divine character. Apart from these exceptional circumstances, the seats were not used and remained stored in undisclosed locations.
Satin patina, residual matte and ocher encrustations, very slight cracks.
The cradle of the Luba (Baluba in Chiluba) is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu River. They were born of a secession from the Songhoy ethnic group. In the 16th century they created a state, organized in decentralized chiefdoms, which stretched from the Kasai River to Lake Tanganyika. The chiefdoms cover a small territory without any real border which includes at most three villages.
Source "Africa, The Art of a Continent" ed. Prestel; "Luba" F. Neyt.
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