Lotto No. 112


Kuba (or Bakuba), Dem. Rep. of Congo: A rubbing oracle ‘Itoom’, in the form of an elephant.


Kuba (or Bakuba), Dem. Rep. of Congo: A rubbing oracle ‘Itoom’, in the form of an elephant. - Arte Tribale

A divination tool, called ‘Itoom’ or ‘Itumbwa’, in the form of an elephant. Carved from wood and dyed black. The back of the animal constitutes the smooth rubbing surface of the oracle. The soothsayer rubs the wooden ‘button’ (enclosed) back and forth on this surface while he asks the ‘spirits’ the questions put forth by his client. If the ‘button’ suddenly gets stuck on the rubbing surface, it means that a question has been answered.
On the grounds of its style and the typical, finely carved geometric relief decoration on both sides of the elephant, the present elephant oracle can be ascribed to the Kuba subgroups of the Wongo or Lele.
A piece with good usage patina and only minor age-related damage (small tears to the elephant’s abdomen and tail).
First half of the 20th century; L: 28 cm. (ME)

Provenance: German Private Collection.

Lit.: 'Encyclopedia of African Art and Culture' by K.-F. Schädler, fig. p. 348; 'Ngombo. Wahrsagen und Kunst in Zentralafrika' by Manual Jordán, fig. 14, 15.

Esperto: Erwin Melchardt Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at

26.05.2015 - 15:00

Stima:
EUR 1.000,- a EUR 1.200,-

Kuba (or Bakuba), Dem. Rep. of Congo: A rubbing oracle ‘Itoom’, in the form of an elephant.


A divination tool, called ‘Itoom’ or ‘Itumbwa’, in the form of an elephant. Carved from wood and dyed black. The back of the animal constitutes the smooth rubbing surface of the oracle. The soothsayer rubs the wooden ‘button’ (enclosed) back and forth on this surface while he asks the ‘spirits’ the questions put forth by his client. If the ‘button’ suddenly gets stuck on the rubbing surface, it means that a question has been answered.
On the grounds of its style and the typical, finely carved geometric relief decoration on both sides of the elephant, the present elephant oracle can be ascribed to the Kuba subgroups of the Wongo or Lele.
A piece with good usage patina and only minor age-related damage (small tears to the elephant’s abdomen and tail).
First half of the 20th century; L: 28 cm. (ME)

Provenance: German Private Collection.

Lit.: 'Encyclopedia of African Art and Culture' by K.-F. Schädler, fig. p. 348; 'Ngombo. Wahrsagen und Kunst in Zentralafrika' by Manual Jordán, fig. 14, 15.

Esperto: Erwin Melchardt Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at


Hotline dell'acquirente lun-ven: 09.00 - 18.00
kundendienst@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 200
Asta: Arte Tribale
Data: 26.05.2015 - 15:00
Luogo dell'asta: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Esposizione: 20.05. - 26.05.2015