Luba Headrest | Fashor and Eagar
Fashor and Eagar, purveyors and auctioneers of fine African art bring you an outstanding African art collection, largely from private collections. We strive to bring you the finest aged African art forms, originally created as much for function as for beauty.
Fine African Art, African art collection, Private African Art Collection, Fine African Art For Sale
product-template-default,single,single-product,postid-15729,theme-bridge/bridge,qode-quick-links-1.0,woocommerce,woocommerce-page,woocommerce-no-js,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,paspartu_enabled,columns-3,qode-product-single-tabs-on-bottom,qode-theme-ver-16.9,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.5.5,vc_responsive


Luba Headrest

Superb Luba Caryatid Headrest.

Luba Headrest: Figure Riding Antelope

Luba (Shankadi?) People


democratic Republic of Congo

Wood, beads, patina of age.


8 inches tall (20.3 cm)


Early – mid 20th Century.


Jean-Pierre Hallet

No known exhibitions


No known publications


A magnificent prestige object of the Luba privileged class of earlier generations, this sculpture served in the stead of a pillow to elevate the head of its reposing owner. Its function may appear ordinary but the practical function of these neckrests permitted prominent Luba families to preserve their elaborate hairstyles overnight. Hairstyling was and still is essential Luba people. Women still wear dramatic and labor-intensive coiffures to this day. Like scarification, an elaborate hairstyle is a symbol of refinement and social status and self-esteem. Closely treasured by the Luba, headrests sometimes were used in burials, accompanying their owners to the afterlife. Fine works of art such as thrones, elegant scepters, sculptural figures and ornate neckrests were commissioned for personal and political use by the wealthy and ruling classes of the Luba.

The subject of this headrest is clearly a member of the privileged Luba class. The depicted figure sports the iconic coiffure popular in the Shankadi region of the Luba called the “step coiffure,” which sometimes took over fifty hours of meticulous work to create. The coiffures can distinguish one’s marital status or identify one’s cultural role; however, the primary purpose of hairstyling is to beautify the wearer. The figure, adorned in a blue and yellow necklace, sits astride an antelope with long horns. These aesthetic prestige objects, apart from their utilitarian purposes, encode the histories, social and spiritual practices of the Luba.

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 16 × 12 × 12 in
SKU: 2719-1-1 Category: Tags: , ,