African art > Head rest > Luba neck rest
Luba neck rest (N° 19603)
Ex Belgian collection of African art.
Some neck rests, like this one, have been waxed by their owner, others not.
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The Luba are renowned for their statuary and in particular their neckrests and stools made up of a caryatid figure and sometimes an animal motif, the cephalophe as here.
In this case it is a female figure, incarnation of royalty and the spirit of the ancestors, riding the animal. Antelope horns were used, loaded with magical ingredients, in therapeutic rites.
Neck rests were also used to support the heads of the deceased, and sometimes, according to Albert Maesen, buried in their place. Greyish brown matte patina.
The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu river, hence the name (Baluba, which means "the Lubas"). They were born from a secession of the Songhoy ethnic group, under the leadership of Ilunga Kalala, who caused the death of the old king Kongolo, who has since been venerated in the form of a python. In the sixteenth century they created a state, organized in decentralized chieftaincies, which extended from the Kasai River to Lake Tanganyika. The chieftaincies cover a small territory with no real boundaries, and include no more than three villages. The Shankadi form a group established in the west of Lualaba, whose works are distinguished by a layered hairstyle known as "cascade".
Source: "Luba" F. Neyt
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