While many objects of Luba art appear to be functional, their utilitarian purposes have been replaced or augmented by symbolic purposes. Sculpted caryatid stools serve symbolically as seats of power and sites of memory for deceased kings and chiefs rather than serve as places to sit. Therefore, they are metaphorical, not literal, seats of kingship. The design of Luba seats of leadership may either be abstract or figurative. Those incorporating female caryatids give expression to the Luba conception of the female body as a spiritual receptacle that supports divine kingship. The aesthetic refinement of the female body through elaborate skin ornamentation serves as a metaphor for the civilization and refinement that Luba rulers disseminate within society.
39cms by 25cms wide