African art > pipe > Pipe Luba

Luba ceremonial water pipe (N° 17434)

Set on the stove of a water pipe, this sculpture depicting the female ancestor Luba, a spiritual medium associated with royalty, features a cross-haired hairstyle behind a broad headband that reveals a shaved forehead. The tiara is indeed extended by a sophisticated hairstyle that was composed of braids and copper wires. The so-called 'epi' scarifications, the tactile mnemonic code, cover the abdomen and lower abdomen, directing the gaze towards the protruding umbilical. The attitude, hands placed on the chest, implies that the secrets of royalty (the bizila) belong to women through their role as political and spiritual intermediaries.
Satin brown Patine. Height on a base: 36 cm.
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.
Litt.: Luba (c) Roberts, ed. 5Continents.  

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Originex-collection andorrane
EthnyLuba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height30
Width7
Weight0.45 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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