Luba Female Half Figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo
height 10 3/4in (27.3cm)
Mathias Komor, New York, 1966
Private Collection, New York
"Many Luba sculpted figures are considered void until charged with substances. These compounds include items thought to have rare and enhanced life powers, such as pulverized fragments of human bone, or the hair of twins... By enhancing the object in this way, the ritual specialist invites the spirit to inhabit the receptacle, which can then be used to assist with particular tasks." (Roberts, 1996: p. 201)
Elegant and still with a single cavity--now void of medicinal charge--on top of the proportionally-large head with striated coiffure, the face displaying a tranquil expression with large features, finely balanced above large, sloping and protruding breasts, the figure departs from tradition with minimal scarification to the body and the hands to the abdomen instead of the breasts; fine honey-brown patina with black painted highlights.