African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Scepter Tchokwe
Scepter Tchokwe (N° 11933)
Tshokwe Chiefdoms and African Art
Intended to exalt the qualities of the leader, mark of ostentation, this scepter represents the political and symbolic power, by a sculpture in round-bump which represents Chibinda Ilunga naked and in seated position, hunter and mythical hero, founder of the Chokwe ethnic group . Easily recognizable by his wide cap with curved lateral wings (cipenya-mutwe), he had taught his people the art of hunting. The chiefs had a major function in the rites of propitiation for the hunting and fertility of women, the objects being adorned with this figure having, therefore, a protective function. Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwe were then subjected to the lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sacredness of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwe never fully adopted these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they ended up seizing the capital of Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwe did not have centralized power but large chiefdoms. They attracted artists who wanted to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied pieces and of such quality that the Lunda court employed only them.