Shankadi figurative headrest - Luba Baluba - Ex coll. BE - Congo DRC

Shankadi figurative headrest - Luba Baluba - Ex coll. BE - Congo DRC
mid 20th century - Vintage - used with visible signs of wear

17 x 17 cm.
Former collection. Belgium - brought back in the 1960s.

Throughout Africa, wooden headrests served as pillows, to preserve the complex hairdos which required much work, and to ensure the freshness of the head during the sleep. The dynamic position, the delicately chiselled features and the spectacular hairdo in cascade, are characteristics specific to a series of headrests, stools, kashekesheke divination instruments, attributed to the same artist or to the same active workshop in the 19th century. According to A. Maesen, the hairstyle of these sculptures is named Mikanda, meaning “stairs” or “cascade”; this led the Westerners to name the artist, “the Master of the cascading hairdo”.

The precise regional origins of this hairdo are unknown. Nevertheless, many pictures of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries show Luba women wearing variants of this type, reproduced on an important number of Luba pieces.
The stacking of hair layers and the angular openworked forms on the sculpture were particularly widespread until 1928, in the region of the Luba Shankadi, around the villages of Kabondo Dianda and Busangu. Mounted on a structure in wicker, the hairdo in “cascade” required about fifty hours of work; if one used a headrest at night, the hairdo could be maintained during two or three months.
Headrests have great value for the Luba; currently still, a significant number of Luba remember that their grandparents owned such pieces. In the 1950s, Maesen had observed that people of a certain age were particularly attached to their headrest, which was sometimes buried with their owner. In addition, we could bury these in place of the deceased when the body was not found, demonstrating the role of the object, closely related to the person.
Headrests were so important that the Yeke, during their iconoclastic uprising of the late 19th, had burned all of the Luba headrests, whereas other objects remained intact.

Shipment within 24 working hours.
Track & trace included.
With acknowledgement of receipt.

Tags: mask, figurine, sculpture, figure, statuette, wood, art, contemporary, first, primitive, tribal, African, antiquity, artwork, gallery, Picasso, Giacometti, art gallery, African art, cubism.

Lot details
Shankadi figurative headrest
Indigenous object name
Ex coll. BE
Region/ country
Congo DRC
Luba Baluba
Mid 20th century
Vintage - used with visible signs of wear
Sold with stand
17×17×0 cm
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