The art from the Luba people seems to place an emphasis on women. The emphasis on women in their art probably means that the Luba people are a matrilineal society and that women are important not only in the home but in other aspects of society. For example, the image of the woman on the staff? ‘… The staff is a symbol of male power, but the image engraved on the staff is a woman. You can see the breasts, the slightly protruding belly as if the figure is pregnant, and the female like genitalia carved into the figure.
I believe that this is so because man omes from woman and it is woman that takes care of him throughout his life, be it his mother, daughter, sister, wife, aunt, or grandmother? ‘… There is always a woman behind a man, caring for him and encouraging him. The second image is that of what appears to be an elderly person. The face is carved with ridges that could be wrinkles. There are no visible ears The eyes are small and so is the mouth. Only the nose is large and prevalent on the face.Order now
This tells me that these are people that value privacy, that minding your own business would be considered important in this culture. It seems to me that if speaking was elieved to be essential to the Luba people then the mouth would have been carved larger and that if listening to the goings-on of your neighbors were valued the ears would be observable. The eyes would have been larger if looking at things that were none of your concern was a something the society valued.
The women in the figure holding the sacred vessel in order to commune with spirits have the hair carved in the elaborately adorned styles of their people. This figure was given greater detail than the previous two. They look more realistic than abstract, almost as if the artist could have based them after someone e knew. It is obvious to me why the women were carved into the figure to commune with the spirits. Lineage through the maternal line is easily traced.
Maternity is a sure thing, but a father could be any man and so women can easily converse with their ancestors for their female antecedents can be traced through generations. It is only natural to think that women can communicate with the spirits since not only do the know their ancestors, but they are connected to the supernatural through the process of creating life and bring it into the world. These people have extensive patterns tapped into the skin, patterns that they lso include in their art and their weaving.
The patterns obviously mean something to these people. I feel as they seem to convey a sense of order and even beauty in that order. The stool is a woman holding up what could either be a piece of earth or sky. It kind of reminds me of Atlas, who holds up the world. A woman is the seat of power. We draw strength from our mother, taking comfort from her embrace. We sit in her lap as children and as adults go home to ask her for advice. Behind every man there is a woman who holds him up. This piece, this stool is a beautiful work of art.