African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Luba cup

Luba Shankadi royal caryatid cup (N° 19910)

The figure acting as a caryatid here adopts an unusual posture revealing the most intimate parts of a very detailed anatomy. According to P. Nooter these figures represented the diviner's wife, emphasizing her importance in the process of divination bilumbu. She supports the mboko cup, a calabash that was filled with kaolin, symbolizing purity and the spiritual world, and with which the king's visitors smeared themselves out of respect.
The antelope unfolding at the top also forms a recurring symbolic motif in Luba iconography. Abrasions and desiccation cracks. Matt patina, residual inlays.

The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu River, thus 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 had the old king Kongolo, who has since been venerated in the form of a python, die. 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 borders, and include no more than three villages.  

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OriginEx-collection espagnole
EthnyLuba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height58
Width18
Weight2.50 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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