LUBA STAFF WITH HEAD SUPPORTING A PALETTE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
H. 21.65 in
- Collection Alain de Monbrison, Paris
- Collection Béatrice et Patrick Caput, Paris
- Patrick Caput et Valentine Plisnier, Arts d’Afrique. Portraits d’une collection, 2016, p.56-57
Majestic examples of Luba royal art, sceptres were reserved to members of the nobility, territorial chiefs and diviners. Transmitted from generation to generation, each one was unique as they were closely tied to the history, the genealogy and the migrations of a family, a lineage or a specific chiefdom. Every detail had meaning and memory, the vector of remembrance and revival of the past. A remarkable combination of strength and sensitivity, the highly symbolic objects exalted the authority of their owners and symbolised the power of their families. They strengthened their aura and raised them above their mortal condition. The sceptres thus served both as a mnemonic device and as an emblem of spiritual and earthly power. Their complex iconography is combined with their remarkable sculptural quality. These objects are usually decorated with a female figure in a tribute to the decisive role of Luba women in the exercise of power. They were involved in the constitution of alliances, decision-making processes and rites of investiture. The piece presented here stands out by its segmented construction. In the centre there is the ravishing face of a woman. It is topped with an imposing wooden block. Triangular in shape, it is adorned with fine incisions forming a pleasant abstract decoration. The features of her oval face are elegantly carved and perfectly balanced. The rounded forehead is crowned by a delicate headband. The coffee-bean eyes are closed, giving the character an expression of contemplation. The generous mouth is slightly open. A remarkable cruciform headdress gives rhythm to the back. The lower part is covered with a bunch of stranded copper carefully wound around the structure. Magnificently modelled, this sceptre stands out by the delicateness of its lines and the incredible expression of serenity given off by its sculpted character.