African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Chibinda Ilunga Chokwe figure
Chibinda Ilunga Chokwe figure (N° 10422)
Belgian African art collection.
This is a statuette of Chibinda Ilunga, founder of the Chokwé.
Here he is found sitting in a suit, arms bent, hands close to the body. The pitched back and raised chin indicate a proud and dominant attitude. Its very special headdress with two side parts and a curved penne towards the back makes it easy to recognize.
Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sanctity of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwes never fully embraced these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they eventually seized the capital of Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwe did not have centralized power but great chiefdoms. They were the ones who attracted artists who wanted to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied and quality pieces that the Lunda court employed only them.