Luba People, DR Congo
This statue is a delicately carved example of a seated woman holding a divination bowl or Mboko, carved by the Luba people. The bowl is used by a diviner to communicate with their possessing spirits through incantations, songs, and percussion. The spirits respond through the kinetic arrangement of items in the gourd or basket which is filled with an array of objects including tiny iron replicas of tools; composite magical bundles contained in antelope horns, cowrie shells, and the carapaces of dried beetles; one or more human teeth; caddis-fly cases; fruits, seeds, and twigs; bird beaks and claws; chalk; and a dozen or more miniature carved wooden human figures. During consultation, the diviner must be in trance to interpret a gourd’s constellations of symbols and allow the diviner to transcend this world and gain insight from the other.
Dimensions: 5.5 X 3.5 X 10.5 inches