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Bow Stand

Arts of Africa

The great mythical hero of Luba kingship, Mbidi Kiluwe, was a famous hunter whose most cherished possession was his bow. Bow stands therefore symbolize chiefly authority and are associated with elaborate rituals and restrictions. They are never displayed in public and are guarded by a female dignitary who provides prayers and sacrifices. The female figure on this bow stand holds her hands to her chest, a gesture that refers both to the Luba idea that women guard the secrets of royalty within their breasts and to that of devotion to the spirit world.
DATES 19th century
DIMENSIONS 29 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 5 1/2 in. (74.3 x 33.7 x 14 cm) Other: 29 1/8 x 13 3/8in. (74 x 34cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Standing female figure arms bent hands resting between breasts. Scarification on abdomen and elaborate headdress. There is a three pronged projection carved with patterns at top of head. Condition: Chipped and cracked.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Possibly Luba. Bow Stand, 19th century. Wood, 29 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 5 1/2 in. (74.3 x 33.7 x 14 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.1345. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.1345_SL1_edited_version.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 22.1345_SL1_edited_version.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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