|LUBA MADONNA FIGURE
Madonna figure, Luba peoples, D.R.C.
A masterfully carved wood Santo depicting the Madonna, wearing cloak and floor-length, flowing robes, her small toes partially
exposed, gentle hands clasped in reverence and her European featured face looking gentle but solemn. Gracefully carved with
baluster form, standing on small, integral base.
ex Sam Hilu collection
Images of the Madonna and Madonna and Child are one of the central icons of Christianity, representing the Madonna or Mary,
mother of Jesus, by herself or, rather more often, with her son Jesus. These iconic images were introduced to the African people
centuries ago with some of the earliest images appearing on Ethiopian objects. In the early 20th century, missionaries in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo introduced the images to the Luba people who subsequently carved representations in wood and
ivory which are now coveted among collectors of African and religious art.
"Madonna is a medieval Italian term for a noble or otherwise important woman, and has long been used commonly in reference to
images of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. The word has also been adopted by the English and other European languages.
"Madonna", translates as "My Lady". While stressing the personal, if reverent relationship between the Virgin and the devout
Christian who addresses her in prayer, it is comparable to the French, "Notre Dame", or "Our Lady". These names signal both the
increased importance of the Cult of the Virgin and the prominence of art in service to Marian devotion during the late medieval
period. During the thirteenth century, especially, with the increasing influence of chivalry and aristocratic culture on poetry, song and
the visual arts, the Madonna is represented as the Queen of Heaven, often enthroned. Strictly speaking, the term "Madonna" should
be used exclusively for Italian works of sacred art, but this is often not followed. Images where she is depicted with the Christ Child,
her infant son, are technically of the Madonna and child, but are often loosely referred to as just a "Madonna"." From Wikipedia
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