Luba Mboko Vessel

c. 1900
$2,880 USD
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H: 14.0" Dia: 8.5"
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Receiving guidance from tribal ancestors was a central aspect of the Luba people's spiritual practices. This ceramic spiritually significant vessel is topped with a crossed leg figure whose head has an opening critical for a divination ritual. Known as a mboko, this handled vessel would have been filled with items like antelope horns, shells, dried beetles, human teeth, fruits, seeds, chalk and miniature carved figures that Luba sages used to read and guide. A traditional ritual involved shaking the filled mboko and then releasing the items from within into a sacred bowl to see which objects presented themselves together in which way. These arrangements were interpreted as revelatory signs from which the diviner could diagnose a problem. The process would be repeated again and again, each time providing further insight and understanding.

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