African art > Head rest > Luba neck press
Luba Shankadi neck support (N° 18183)
The Luba are renowned for their statuary and in particular their neck-bearings and stools consisting of a cariatidic figure and sometimes a cephalophe like here. In this case it is a female figure, the embodiment of the royalty and spirit of the ancestors, riding the animal. Antelope horns were used, loaded with magical ingredients, in therapeutic rituals. The neck supports were also used to support the heads of the deceased, and sometimes, according to Albert Maesen, buried in their place. Satin golden brown patina.
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The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is the Katanga, specifically 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 killed the old king Kongolo, who has since been revered as a python. In the 16th century they created a state, organized in a decentralized chiefdom, which stretched from the Kasai River to Lake Tanganyika. The chiefdoms cover a small territory without a real border that includes no more than three villages. The Shankadis form a group based in the west of the Lualaba, whose works are distinguished by a storied hairstyle called 'cascading'.
Source: Luba F. Neyt
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