Two carved female figures, holding one arm over each other's back, an the other resting on the stomach decorated with lozenge motifs and scarification patterns; one figure is wearing a rope around the middle. A curving shaft supports the figures, broadening from the metal tip at the bottom into two bulging forms, divided by a dark black line through the middle, and covered in a carved pattern of triangles and lines on both front and back. The staff is heavy, with a nice shiny patina.
In precolonial times, Luba staffs were carried by kings and other dignitaries and served as both prestige items and receptacles for sacred power. Moreover, certain iconographic features allow the staffs to be read as carved maps, sharing an iconography with the Luba memory boards (called "lukasa"). The paired female figures commonly found atop Luba staffs represent the female founders of specific royal lines, or the king himself. The broad sections of the staff, with incised patterns evoking scarification pattterns, refer to the land itself, and to specific geographic features such as mountains or rivers, personified as spirits.
This black and white drawing depicts an outdoor classical scene. In the center of the composition a nude male figure donning an ornate helmet and brandishing a sword drags a lifeless classically draped figure before an altar on the left on top of which rests armor, a helmet and drapery. Behind this altar is positioned another draped male figure. A fully draped figure points toward two mourning female figures in the right midground. The paper is squared for transfer.
Nude and classically draped figures in an outdoor setting before an altar. Possibly representing Achilles and Hector.
This small, flat metal piece has a quartrefoil shape. Two holes in the middle. Flame-like incision all over the piece. Silver is applied around the center hole.
Tsuba (sword guard) is inserted between a sword handle and blade to protect hands from sharp blades. The center hole is where the sword is placed. The smaller hole is to insert kozuka, an ornamental stick. This particlar tsuba has incised, overall frame design.
A slightly curved staff, topped by a long, narrow handle, placed atop a carved human head, with simple hairdo and facial feautures. The shaft is covered by a snake coiling upward from the lower end of the staff.
This carved "mihango" staff is topped by a human head, like many similar staffs produced in the southwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a contact region of Pende, Lunda, and Chokwe peoples). The representation of a snake on the staff is shared with many other ethnic groups in this region, and may refer to the positive attributes of leadership. These staffs were used by orators, or speakers, who acted as defense lawyers for the members of their lineage; they were owned by particular lineages or sublineages. When the orator for a particular lineage died, the staff would temporarily be placed in the granary of a young woman, and would then be transferred to the newly chosed speaker in an elaborate ritual. The staffs are also said to have been fashioned with power substances inside them, but there is no evidence of that on this particular staff. Because of this link between orators' staffs and spiritual powers, Catholic missionaries and Pende teachers in the 1940s and 50s reinterpreted the staffs as "fetishes" and threw them in the Kwilu River.
Inscribed in the image, in a tablet held by old woman in upper center, D H, flanking a pinecone; l.l., 97; verso, inscribed in black ink, u.l. corner, M[?] nit/ 7-87; in graphite, u.c., 30; l.l. corner, / [?] D.; BVIII. 485.47/ 64.9.7; in l.c., fr Sir T. Lawrences Coll.
Collector's marks: stamped in black ink, in the image, l.l.: T.L, surrounded by a double oval [monogram of Sir Thomas Lawrence, Lugt 2446]; verso, l.l., stamped in black ink, CDG, entwined [monogram of Dr. C.D. Ginsburg, Lugt 1145] Watermark: indecipherable
This black and white print depicts an animated and detailed scene of nude figures and mythical beasts on the surface of the sea.Two men, with seaweed hair and riding half horse/half fish creatures, strike out at each other. A man and a woman ride a beast with a scaly body and the head of a fierce dog. In the background, a man holding a trident stands with his back to the viewer. Action and motion are expressed with billowing drapery, flowing hair and moving waves. The wide mouthed expressions of the figures and animals suggest yelling and noise in this chaotic scene. Among the many details depicted by the artist is a plaque held by the woman that has his initials.
Daniel Hopfer was a 16th c. German etcher who was first trained as an armor maker and used thin iron plates for his prints - a process he invented. This print depicts one part of a larger composition by the sixteenth-century Northern Italian painter Andrea Mantegna (1430/31–1506), itself based on the relief (shallow) carving decorating a Roman sarcophagus. Mantegna frequently made reference to Roman relief sculpture in his work and his designs in turn inspired the work of engravers, whose prints provided a wider dissemination of his art. This image, in which nude figures astride fantastical creatures dominate, has been interpreted as an allegory on the theme of envy. This impression once belonged to the British painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830), whose collector’s mark is visible at the lower left corner.
The sword is long and slightly curved; the handle cover is wrapped with black cords, mostly worn out. The round tsuba (sword guard) is made of steel and has two holes. The scabbard is painted with lacquer and has a string for hanging. There is a pair of lion-shaped menuki (fitting) on the handle.
Long swords (tachi) were the most important belongings for samurai, almost as equal to their lives; as many tragic stories attest, samurai could commit suicide when his sword was taken, stolen, or lost.
This small, flat piece made of light brown brass (called "sentoku" in Japanese) has a round diamond shape. It has a triangular shaped hole in the center and another round hole on one side. Artist’s name is signed between the two holes. The surface is slightly concaved from the rim. The front has relief design of a shrimp, blowfish, and bamboo branch. On the back, there are designs of a spiral shell, a barnacle, and water drops. The sea motifs are inlayed with gold, silver, copper, and shakudô (copper-gold alloy).
Tsuba (sword guard) is inserted between a sword handle and blade to protect hands from sharp blades. The center hole is where the sword is placed. The smaller hole is to insert an ornamental stick called kozuka. This particlar tsuba has a sea-related theme of shrimp and blowfish.