Initiation

By Christopher D. Roy
University of Iowa

Democratic Republic of the Congo; Luba peoples

Bowstand

Wood, fiber

H. 65.1 cm (26")

The University of Iowa Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection, X1986.442

Initiation is more than just a passage or graduation from one "grade" to the next.  A variety of people are initiated throughout their lives as part of the process of transformation from one from one state of being to another.  Men and women who suffer from physical or mental affliction are initiated into a curing society based on spiritual power, when they learn the techniques of healing and acquire the supernatural power of the spirit that affects the cure.  Men are initiated into kingship when they receive the sacred amulets of power and learn the secrets that validate rule, and are given the tools, weapons or other elements of regalia that identify the ruler.