Fine Luba Female Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Lot 31
Fine Luba Female Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo

US$ 50,000 - 70,000
€ 43,000 - 60,000
The Robert and Nancy Nooter Collection
Fine Luba Female Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Wood, pigment
height 16in (40.5cm)

Provenance
Marc Leo Felix, Brussels, "FX93324" underside in white ink
David and Clifford Gelbard Collection, New York
Bonham's, 13 November 2007, Lot 2599
Robert and Nancy Nooter Collection, Washington, D.C.

Published
Perani, J. and Smith F., The Visual Arts of Africa: Gender, Power, and Life Cycle Rituals, Prentice Hall, 1998, fig. 8.23
Bourgeois, Arthur P. and Scott Rodolitz, Remnants of Ritual - Selections from the Gelbard Collection of African Art, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.46, fig.101

Exhibited
Remnants of Ritual - Selections from the Gelbard Collection of African Art
Chicago, Illinois, Governors State University, 2003;
Champaigne, Illinois, Krannert Art Museum, 2003;
Kansas City, Missouri, Belger Art Center/University of Missouri, 2004;
Park Forest, Illinois, Tall Grass Art Association, 2005

According to Mary Nooter and Alan Roberts, 'The soul of each Luba kingship is literally enshrined in a throne. When a Luba king died, his royal residence was preserved for posterity as a "spirit capital," a lieu de mémoire where his memory was perpetuated through a spirit medium called a "Mwadi" who incarnated his spirit. This site became known as a "kitenta" or "seat" -- a symbolic seat of remembrance and power, which would continue the king's reign. The king's stool, a concrete symbol of this larger and more metaphysical "seat," expresses the most fundamental precepts of Luba power and dynastic succession.' (Memory: Luba Art and the Making of History, The Museum of African Art, New York, 1996, p. 17, Cat. 1).

Furthermore, 'Seats are the most important emblem of Luba kingship, and serve to generate memory and history. Not only is a Luba King's place referred to as a "seat of power" (kitenta), but seating is a metaphor for the many levels and layers of hierarchy and stratification that characterize Luba royal prerogative. Stools figured prominently in royal investiture rites, signaling the moment when the new ruler swore his oath of office and addressed his people for the first time as king. To attract the spirit world, the female figure supporting this stool [as in the present example] bears the marks of Luba identity and physical perfection, including scarifications, an elegant coiffure, gleaming black skin, and a serene, composed attitude.' (p. 18, Cat. 2)

The female figure is finely sculpted kneeling on the rounded base with her thighs raised slightly above her calves adding to the poetic juxtaposition of the angles and curves throughout the work; her arms raised with her finger tips helping support the top rounded seat which rests on her head; her long and elegant coiffure, with incised geometric design, sweeps elegantly outward, curving gradually back to the bottom of her back; her torso decorated with raised cicatrice decoration; fine black patina with wear indicative of much traditional use.
Contacts
Fine Luba Female Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Fine Luba Female Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Fine Luba Female Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Fine Luba Female Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Fine Luba Female Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Fine Luba Female Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo
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