African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Hemba Seat

Tabouret Luba/ Hemba Lupona, Kihona (N° 19813)

Carrying the circular tray of a seat, a female figure forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). The protruding, spiky scarifications surround the umbilicus, "center of the world" associated with lineage, and those of the lower abdomen, horizontal, symbolize fertility. This stool named lupona ,or kioni or kipona , kiona , depending on the source, 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. Semi-satin flaking patina, glossy seat. Abrasions. The cradle of the Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu River. They were born of a secession from the Songhoy ethnic group. In the sixteenth century they created a state, organized in decentralized chieftaincies, that extended from the Kasai River to Lake Tanganyika. The chieftaincies cover a small territory with no real borders, and include no more than three villages. Source "Africa, The Art of a Continent" ed. Prestel; "Luba" F. Neyt.  

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Originex-collection française
EthnyHemba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height45
Width27
Weight4.50 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°

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