Photographs © Hamill Gallery
7.75" high x 8" wide x 3" deep
This beautiful Luba headrest was on exhibit at the African Presidential Center at Boston University from 2002-2015 and is featured and pictured in their publication African Art Collection. A copy is included with the headrest if desired.
Despite its appearance this Luba headrest shows no evidence of age or use and was probably made to be sold.
Most Luba art relates to kings and important chiefs, who defined their power by the display of prestige objects during important ceremonies. Headrests were more personal, and were used primarily to support the neck, preserving the elaborate hair styles traditional among the Luba people. Motifs included figures, pairs of figures, a figure on horseback, etc. The user was literally as well as figuratively supported by the carved figures, which also symbolized the continuity of power in a matrilineal society. Elaborate coiffures and scarification patterns attested to the high rank of both the depicted figure and the owner of the headrest.
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