African art > Commander stick > Sceptre Tchokwe
Chokwe snuffbox scepter (N° 15113)
The Royal Chokwe Badges and African Art.
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Intended to exalt the qualities of the chef, a mark of ostentation, the handle of the scepter presented is topped by a round-bump sculpture featuring Chibinda Ilunga in a sitting position, hunter and mythical hero, founder of the Chokwé ethnic group. Easily recognizable by his ample headdress with curved side wings ( cipenya-mutwe ), he had taught his people the art of hunting. The chiefs had a major function in the propitiation rites intended for the hunting and fertility of women, the objects being adorned with this figure thus, presumably, a protective function. At the top, a pot-shaped element is intended for tobacco, the use of which was widespread among the Chokwe, with smoke serving as an offering to spirits ajimu . Black brown satin patina
Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sanctity of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwes never fully embraced these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they eventually seized the capital of Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwe did not have centralized power but great chiefdoms. They were the ones who attracted artists who wanted to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied and quality pieces that the Lunda court employed only them.
Ref.: "Black African court arts, " Mr. Coquet ed. Adam Biro
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