Divination Figure
Date Early- to mid-20th century
Artist:Luba peoples, Congolese
Dimensions Overall: 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm)
Medium Wood | Brass
Credit Line Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
Description Staff head or divination figure. Made in the Luba Province of Zaire.
Object Label Divination Figure Early- to mid-20th century Luba peoples Democratic Republic of the Congo Wood and brass Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. 71.2393 The Luba practice of divination seeks to explain the cause of some specific misfortune. If illness or crime befalls an individual, a diviner may be sought to perform kashekesheke. Jointly holding a carved wooden figure that represents the spirit of an ancestor, the diviner and patron rub the figure over the surface of a mat or the ground, asking it questions, which are answered through their shared movements. The sound that the figure makes as it moves across the surface of the mat is described as sheke-sheke, thus giving the ritual its name.
Object Number 71.2393