African art > Statues > Statuette Luba
Statuette Mikisi Luba (N° 17394)
With her hands placed on her shoulders, this female effigy luba, a spiritual medium, has regular features inscribed in an ovoid face. Her headdress, behind a wide headband revealing a shaved forehead, is related to that worn by Luba women at the beginning of the 20th century. Her attitude reminds us that the secrets of royalty (the bizila) belong to women through their role as political and spiritual intermediaries. Checkerboard scarifications forming diamonds on the abdomen, horizontal on the lower abdomen, dot her bust. The umbilical has a prominence that also emphasizes its role of fertility and transmission of life. Smooth, satin patina. Desication cracks.
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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, 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 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.
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