No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT payable at 19.6% (5.5% for books) will be added to the buyer’s premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis
Dr. Jean Desmedt, Bruxelles
Lance Entwistle, Londres
African Arts, novembre 1983, Vol.XVII, no.1, verso
Neyt, F., Luba aux Sources du Zaïre, Paris, 1994, p.142
Post Lot Text
MAGNIFICENT LUBA FEMALE FIGURE
The quiet dignity and grace of the Mann figure is compelling. It was obviously treasured and respected by the Luba themselves from the libations of oil which it is still exuding. Polly Nooter Roberts and Allen Roberts (Luba Art and the Making of History, New York, 1996, p.84) write of the British Museum standing female figure with a black oily patina: "In Luba belief, beauty is not innate but is created over the course of a lifetime. Physical perfection reflects moral perfection. The body is a canvas on which to work: one makes oneself beautiful through cosmetic adornments and manipulations that Luba people consider aesthetically and spiritually pleasing. The figure is a locus of memory and meaning and a home for the spirit". They add (p.98) that to both the visual and the tactile senses scarification is considered to be beautiful and is erotic, and that at the same time it is an expression of biographical information and cultural identity.
Francois Neyt (Luba, Paris, 1993) illustrates the present figure but does not explain its function, other than a general reference to 'cult figures' used in associations. He lists various elements used by diviners (p.158) in healing and other ceremonies but only refers to the distinguishing characteristics of districts in attributing location to the statues. He places the present figure in the area between the Luvua and Lukuga rivers, to the East of the "Luba heartland", which he writes produced the greatest art works
The Luba state comprised numerous groups of disparate origin and social organisation who shared important cultural and linguistic entities. All those who have investigated these peoples are agreed that the art that accompanied the political and trading skills from the 'heartland' of the Upemba Depression ranks with the most sublime of the African continent.
Few of the names of the 19th century artists are known but some works have been grouped with the name of the village in which they were first discovered, the most famous of which is the master of Buli. Frobenius attributed a group to the "Warua master" which has been renamed by Neyt (op.cit.) "the master of the court of Sopola". The Mann figure shares many characteristics with the latter, but has unique details such as the large nipples to the firm breasts, the treatment of the coiffure and the fact that it is kneeling. It appears to be unique in that aspect, because although kneeling female figures are found as bowl bearers, stool caryatids and sometimes even as staff finials, when "free standing" they are usually doing just that - standing.