Tribal art > African Chair > Tabouret Hemba
Tabouret guéridon Hemba/ Luba Kihona (N° 19875)
Supporting the circular tray of a seat with her fingers placed in a fan shape, a female figure forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). Carved in the style of the "master of Buli" in the Hemba territory, she has a characteristic face, with large eye sockets and prominent cheekbones. Dark patina with orange highlights, minimal cracks.
The prominent scarifications, in spikes, dot the bust where the umbilicus forms the "center of the world" associated with the lineage, and on the lower abdomen, horizontal, they symbolize fertility. This stool named lupona ,or kioni or kipona , kiona and again kitenta ("seat of authority"), according to the sources, constitutes the meeting point of the ruler, his people, and the protective spirits and ancestors, where past and present are symbolically and spiritually mixed. It once formed the seat on which the king mulopwe was enthroned. The seats were laid out on leopard skins during the investiture of the new chief. Only after sitting on it did his speech assume a royal and divine character. Apart from these exceptional circumstances, the seats were not used and remained stored in secret locations. The hemba seats, with similar characteristics, are called kihona .
Satin patina. Erosions despite good overall condition.
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The cradle of the Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu River. They were born of a secession from the Songhoy ethnic group. In the sixteenth century they created a state, organized in decentralized chieftaincies, that extended from the Kasai River to Lake Tanganyika. The chieftaincies cover a small territory with no real borders, and include no more than three villages.
Source "Africa, The Art of a Continent" ed. Prestel; "Luba" F. Neyt.
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