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February 13, 2009

Luba Caryatid Throne

The figure of the Luba Kabila bowl (above left) supports a related kaposhi hairstyle to that depicted on our throne. According to Mary Nooter and Allen F. Roberts (Memory – Luba Art and the Making of History);

“One of the two figures wears the kaposhi hairstyle of former days-the cross-shaped coiffure found on most Luba and eastern Luba sculptures. It was the coiffure of the Luba chiefs and some of their wives.”
Many African seating devices reflect the morals and values held by its members; there are several types of stools which, for example, represent the important role women play in the society from which it was created. Caryatid stools, also referred to as carrier stools, are found over the whole of Southeastern Zaire, the most famous and influential being those of the Luba and the Hemba.
The high status of women in Luba society are portrayed in many caryatid stools. Many of these caryatid stools portray women and mothers as more than the giver-of-life: she is the person to whom all in the clan turn in order to find their human and cultural identity. In a context such as this, the female figure brings her clan and family together under the chief's authority; in many cases, the maternal uncle or the woman herself makes the decisions in the village. In every village and clan, the caryatid seat demonstrates that all authority goes back to the Luba King and through him, the female who is the source of life. source

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