Skip to Main Content »

You're currently on:

Search Site
 
Click on image above to zoom.

Kuba Leele Oracle Friction Head and Tail African Art

Regular Price: $150.00

Special Price: $75.00

Product #: 105298
US Shipping: $9.98
Add Items to Cart


Title Kuba Leele Oracle Friction Head and Tail African Art
Type of Object Carving, sculpture
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Kuba
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th Century
Dimensions Height: 2.75 Inches
Width: 1.5 Inches
Depth: 12.5 Inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair chips and cracks: see pictures for details.


Additional Information:  The body is decorated with geometric motifs typical of the Kuba-Leele people. Such a friction oracle is called Itumbwa and is used for divination among the Kuba and also among the Lele, Ngongo, Wongo. These friction oracles are usually made of wood, have various form, animal , human, and abstract. The most common among the Kuba depict a four-legged animal with one or two heads.

Friction oracle is a very old method of divination practiced in the Kasai-Sankuru region even before the emergency of the the Kuba Kingdom. It is said that the practice was introduced before the seventeenth century by the Kete peoples in order to identify the Ngesh (nature spirits) responsible for misfortune and illness. The Diviner first moistens the implement with oil or water and rubs it on the friction oracle's back. He would move the implement back and forth across the surface of the oracle while giving a series of names or recommendations. The implement would stuck when responses to inquiries are obtained, and action would be taken according to the responses.


The animal represented on the friction oracles are those associated with divination. There are mediators between the human world and the world of the spirits ngesh. Crocodiles, tortoises, iguanas, porcupines, warthogs, dog, and bush pigs, hippopotamus, and elephant as in this example, are commonly used.