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Ceremonial Staff (Kibango)

Arts of Africa

The owner of this staff, like the owners of all Luba staffs, was recognized as having supernatural powers. The Janus heads on this staff refer to Mpanga and Mbanze, twin spirits of Luba kingship whose two-way gaze suggests clairvoyance. The two pairs of horns refer to the medicine that gave the staff's owner similar supernatural powers.

CULTURE Luba
MEDIUM Wood, iron
  • Place Made: Africa
  • DATES 19th century
    DIMENSIONS 61 1/4 x 4 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (155.6 x 12.1 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 22.211
    CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Luba. Ceremonial Staff (Kibango), 19th century. Wood, iron, 61 1/4 x 4 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (155.6 x 12.1 x 3.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.211. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.211_detail_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE detail, 22.211_detail_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wooden staff: at top is high rectangular shape with incised geometric patterns resting on a head with carved features; below the head is a long narrow shaft that buldges out equally on two sides near the bottom. This curved form is decorated with geometric patterns and narrows down to a pointed terminal. The staff has superficial nicks and scratches overall and is in good condition. Its metal tip has fallen off and returned to staff. It could fall off again.
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