Skip Navigation

Water Pipe

Arts of Africa

On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
This large, extraordinarily beautiful example of a rare Luba water pipe undoubtedly belonged to a person of high status. The female figure holding her breasts is the most common motif in Luba art. The gesture symbolizes respect, nurturing, and the role of women as mothers. The representation of a woman is also significant because the Luba trace descent from the female line. The figure’s elaborate scarification and hairstyle indicate she is a woman of wealth and high social rank.
CULTURE Luba
MEDIUM Wood, leather, clay
DATES 19th century
DIMENSIONS 23 x 3 3/4 x 9 in. (58.4 x 9.5 x 22.9 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
ACCESSION NUMBER 22.1108a-b
CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum Collection
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.

Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply).

For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
CAPTION Luba. Water Pipe, 19th century. Wood, leather, clay, 23 x 3 3/4 x 9 in. (58.4 x 9.5 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, 22.1108a-b. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 22.1108a-b_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Carved wooden water pipe and bowl straddled by a beautifully carved female figure with elongated torso. Body symbolically cicatrized in traditional style. Modelled arms with hands below small breasts; columnar neck surmounted by carefully carved head; coiffure bound up in cross-shaped framework. Wood worn and patinated; clay bowl has been repaired.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (91%)
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.