Lunda-Luba Royal Scepter, Democratic Republic of the Congo height 55 1/2in (141cm)
Lot 156W
Lunda-Luba Royal Scepter, Democratic Republic of the Congo height 55 1/2in (141cm)
Sold for US$ 11,250 inc. premium
Auction Details
Luba Janus Staff, Democratic Republic of the Congo height 55 1/2in (141cm)
Lot Details
Lunda-Luba Royal Scepter, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Wood, metal, pigments
height 55 1/2in (141cm)

The iron scepter is wrapped with aluminum bands at the handle, and with a finely carved wooden finial with janus heads, representing twin tutelary spirits, each wearing royal crowns with flaring elements below an abstract superstructure; fine dark brown patina with black highlights.

According to Manuel Jordan in a letter accompanying the present work, "This scepter's overall form and type is comparable to examples documented among Luba chiefs as emblems of rank and prestige - defined as mnemonic devices with codified elements or symbols that indicate aspects of their history and cosmology (Nooter Robert and Roberts, Memory: Luba Art and the Making of History, Munich, 1996). Some of the formal specificity of the scepter, its particular carving style (naturalistic-rounded facial features), and the contrasting two-tone coloration (however) suggest a Lunda-peoples attribution to its original ownership and manufacture...
...This staff is a fine example of an art form that successfully blends traditions and established formal ideas with a degree of conceptual innovation. The dynamic blending of abstract and naturalistic elements on this piece is quite effective in transmitting basic yet profound notions of kingship in a particularly creative fashion. The abstract superstructure is very dynamic and almost unique for such a staff. In my opinion it establishes a formal correlation with fence posts that are found around the palaces of some Lundu-related peoples. These include generally abstract, dynamic forms that similarly engage universal forces to protect royal compounds and they "bounce back" anything negative that may be directed towards them."
Activities
Contacts
  1. Fredric Backlar
    Specialist - African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, 90046
    United States
    Work +1 323 436 5416
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