Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Brainstorm a list of words that describe the stool, connecting these words to what you see. Some people have described the female figure on this stool as powerful, while others have called her maternal. What specific qualities of the figure might suggest “power” or “maternal"?
  • Discuss the word “support.” What does it mean and how do you experience this every day? How does this stool reflect ideas about support? Take the pose of the figure on the stool and discuss how it feels to be in this position. How does your community express support?
  • Examine the legs and arms of the female figure. Do they appear natural or do they appear different from what we might expect? How does their appearance suit the form or purpose of the stool?
  • The woman is carefully supporting what must be an important load. Imagine the village chief sitting on this stool. What message would be communicated to his people through this act? This stool also communicates the importance of women in the Luba society. Rulership is inherited through the woman's family. When the king dies, his sister's son will become the new king.

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Compare and contrast the kipona _with the _LCW Chair (1988.48). Both of these are designed to support a sitter. Look closely at the form and design of each object. How is each structurally designed to support a sitter? Consider also the intended sitter for each chair. What impact does the intended sitter have on the design of each chair?
  • Compare the female form on the kipona with those on the olumeye (2004.16.McD) from the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria_. _How do figures on each work of art bear the loads they lift?
  • Creating permanent body adornment in the form of scarification and tattoos are practices followed by many cultures around the world. This adornment may communicate ideas about status, beauty, and coming-of-age. Compare the scarification patterns on the female form of the Stool _with the tattoo patterns on the figure that appears in _Door with human figure (1991.362) from Indonesia.
  • The _kipona _is the most important symbol of the king’s status in Luba society, and it reflects his relationship with his people. Imagine that you hold the top position in a particular group (sports, clubs, business, etc.) and design a stool that reflects this position and your relationship with the group.