African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Luba figure
Luba Mikisi figure (N° 18710)
Playing the role of spiritual medium, this female luba figure is represented in a classical attitude, hands on the chest. Her headdress, behind a wide band revealing a shaved forehead, is related to the one worn by Luba women at the beginning of the 20th century. By her symbolic gesture she indicates that the secrets of royalty ( the bizila )belong to women thanks to their role of political and spiritual intermediary. The scarifications in relief on the abdomen, horizontal on the lower abdomen, scatter her bust. The umbilicus presents a prominence that also insists on its role of fertility and transmission of life.
Matt dark brown patina. Crack of desiccation in the back.
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The Luba (Baluba in tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu river, so 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, venerated since then in the form of a python, die. In the 16th century they created a state, organized as a decentralized chieftaincy, which extended from the Kasai River to Lake Tanganyika. The chiefdoms cover a small territory without real border that includes at most three villages.
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