Democratic Republic of Congo, magnificently carved, the blackened female caryatid with elaborate abdominal scarification echoed in the finely incised arching coiffure. Overall, excellent patina. height 16in
Provenance: Marc Felix
Exhibited: Governors State University, IL, 2003 Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003 Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004 Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005
Published: Perani, J. and Smith F., The Visual Arts of Africa: Gender , Power, and Life Cycle Rituals. Prentice hall, 1998. Fig. 8.23
Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.46, fig.101
This stunning caryatid stool would have been part of the royal regalia of a Luba chief, along with a number of other objects that served as tangible proof of his status and right to rule. The importance placed on objects such as this is evidenced by the lustrous black surface and exceptional state of preservation. Other examples from the same workshop exist; the example in the Stanley Collection (University of Iowa Museum of Art) helps to establish a date of manufacture, as that example was formerly the property of Sir Cecil Rhodes and was collected at the end of the 19th century. According to F. Neyt, these stools were created by the Kayumba and Museka workshops (Neyt, 1993. 81). The complete mastery by the carver of this stool, in both his canon of style and his medium of manufacture, are evident in the complex juxtaposition of curves, cylinders and arcing lines, boldly rendered in harmonious balance, creating a sculpture that works from every direction from which it may be viewed.