Lot: 291

98th Auction

Female bowl-bearing figure "mboko"

D. R. Congo, Luba

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
H: 14 inch;
L: 9.8 inch
4000 EUR
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, black shiny patina, rest. in several places

The Luba usually turn to a "bilumbu" (fortune teller) in case of misfortune or illness. It is his task to contact the spirit world to find out the causes and recommend a remedy.

"Mboko" are an important utensil of the "bilumbu". The bowl contains white kaolin ("mpemba") and medicinal herbs. With this mixture, the diviner smears his face to bring about the trance state and to facilitate the recognition of the causes of the illness and misfortune.

The bowl carrier figures are used in ceremonies designed to honour the first mythical diviner "Mijibu wa Kalenga", and his role as founder of the Luba kingdom. In this context, they also serve to confirm the authority of the king as leader.