Lot: 326

High-quality staff "mvwala"

D. R. Congo, Yombe/ Bakongo

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Rob Vervoort, Molenstede-Diest, Belgium
Pierre Dartevelle, Brussels, Belgium
H: 47.2 inch 15000 EUR / 30000 EUR

wood, glass, iron, base According to the origin story of Kongo, nine staffs "mvwala" were required for ruling the original clans that made up the kindom. This staffs served as symbols of legitimate rule for a chief, linking him and his rule to the past, to the ancestors and to the earth. An iron tip at the base allowed the "mvwala" to be lodged in the soil thus ritually connecting the world of the living community and that of the dead. The "mvwala" was also used in judicial proceedings, and it played a role in funerary ritual in which the staff may represent the deceased.


Verswijver, G. u. a., Afrikanische Kunst - Verborgene Schätze aus dem Museum Tervuren, München, London, New York 1998, p. 147 ff. Cooksey, Susan et. al., Kongo across the waters, Gainesville 2013, p. 114