B8L4S275S.jpg (14696 bytes)B8L4S275.jpg (19323 bytes)Luba (Baluba, Kaluba, Louba, Uruwa, Waluba, Warua), Democratic Republic of the Congo

Female statuette. The vast Luba territory, comprising the entire southeastern part of the DRC, as far as Tanganyika and Lake Mweru, is uniform as regards language and culture, but racially mixed. Luba arts counts amongst the finest that Africa has to offer. The traditional carvings are for ancestor and spirit cults, for initiation, medical and divination purposes. The favorite theme in sculpture was woman since, according to the Luba myth, Vilie was the first woman spirit, founder of the clan and guarantor of fertility and the lineage. Women were cult guardians, and the royal wives played an important role: sent as emissaries to the chiefs of neighboring ethnicities, they would contract profitable political alliances based on marriage. Luba people say that only woman’s body is strong enough to contain a powerful spirit like a king’s, so sculpture dedicated to kingship is almost always female in gender. The simple gesture of hands to breasts signifies her devotion to spirit world.    

Material:  wood

Size:  H. 11”, W. 2”, D. 2”