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Staff of Office

early to mid-1800s
Overall: 170 x 13.3 cm (66 15/16 x 5 1/4 in.)
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Did You Know?

The Yeke kingdom ruler Chief Msidi gave this as a gift of appreciation to the British missionary Frederick Stanley Arnot, whom the chief had invited to his kingdom.

Description

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. As Chief Msidi (former owner of this staff) ruled over the Yeke kingdom (and not the Luba kingdom), it begs the question of how he acquired this symbol of another realm's power.
Staff of Office

Staff of Office

early to mid-1800s

Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luba

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