Lot: 410

Staff of office "kibango"

D. R. Congo, Luba

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Didier Claes, Brussels, Belgium H: 54.5 inch 6500 EUR / 12000 EUR

wood, copper sheet, base Staffs of office "kibango" were both prestige items and receptacles for sacral power. Sanctified by ritual specialists, fortified with metal and medicine, they took on supernatural qualities and were said to have healing power. The depiction of duiker horns at the headdress may refer to the staffs curative capacities, since Luba doctors used small antelope horns to hold medicine. Furthermore the staffs function as mnemonic text, their forms and designs constituting sculpted narratives. They encode information about lineage history, which may be read as texts.

Roberts, Mary Nooter, Memory, New York 1996, p. 173, ill. 70