early to mid-1800s
Part of a set. See all set records
Wood and iron
Overall: 170 x 13.3 cm (66 15/16 x 5 1/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2004.85
Besides prestige emblems and symbols of power, these staffs were also historical documents that could be “read” like a sculptural map from top to bottom.
Sanctified by a ritual specialist and enhanced with medicinal substances, the staff possessed supernatural qualities and was endowed with healing power. Luba staffs are among the most important regalia of Luba kings. The metal point alludes to the kingdom's stability and durability. Each staff has its own distinctive iconography to reflect regional styles.
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