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Luba Caryatid Stool,Female, DR Congo, African
Title: Luba Caryatid Stool, Female, DR Congo, African
Type of Object: Stool
Ethnic Group: Luba
Country of Origin: DR Congo
Materials: Wood, pigment
Approximate Age: 20th century
Dimensions: 16 inches H. x 11inches Diam seat
Overall Condition: Good
Damage, Repair: Old chips in the edges of base, old insect damage in the base
A caryatid stool supported by a female figure carved in a classic Luba style with a strong and big chignon, scarifications on the belly. The figure seats on the base with her legs widely extended and foiled in the back around the body. The seat has an indigenous repair. Stool is one of the most important and prestigious objects among the Luba. This explains why stools are always carved with big care and attention on details. The allure of caryatid figures reinforces the definition of prestige object attached to the stools. These caryatid carvings are used exclusively by chiefs and important elders, and are not objects intended for daily use. The chief sits on a stool when he is invested, and afterwards when he mediates between the world of the living and the world of the ancestors. The stool is the medium for these spiritual contacts, and thus vital to a chief carrying out his royal duties. Although the Luba trace their heritage through men, royal objects such as this stool most often utilize female forms. In that respect, this stool supported by a female is of great interest. It demonstrates beautifully the essential role of art in both social life and ceremony. The Luba are one of the dominant cultures of the Congo, and perhaps number around one million. They are debatable the most recognized and respected of all the art-producing cultures in central Africa. Most texts on African art will devote a major section to the Luba, and a great source for some wonderful pictures is Neyt, F. 1994. LUBA. TO THE SOURCES OF THE ZAIRE, Paris:Musee Dapper. See also Nooter, M. N. and A. F. Roberts. 1996. Memory, Luba Art and the Making of History.The Museum for African Art. Prestel: New York. Munich
Description written by Niangi Batulukisi, Ph.D.