Wood and plant fiber
Without base: 57.9 x 23 x 10 cm (22 13/16 x 9 1/16 x 3 15/16 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2018.27
A powerful symbol of the Luba king, bow stands were ceremonial objects that resided within the king’s private vicinity in the palace and were never displayed in public. Typically, bow stands depict a female figure, but the sculptor has carved a figure with ambiguously gendered human traits. This is a symbolic depiction that may allude to how divine rulers (mulopwe) were believed to have both “male” and “female” character traits, which allowed this sculpture to act as a vessel for spirits of any gender.
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