African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Luluwa
Statuette Lulua, Bena lulua (N° 19756)
This African male statue of an ancestor, hunter or warrior, played a role during buanga bwa bukalenge rituals to increase the prestige of the chief. It has various scarifications, a common practice at the end of the 19th century in Central Africa.
These marks were signs of beauty with symbolic value, revealing outstanding physical and moral qualities. The concentric circles suggest not only the great stars, but also hope. " These statues of warriors, whose position of the arms at right angles would be associated with vigor, participated in the investitures and funerals of chiefs.
Patina satin finish. Desiccation cracks.
Lulua is a generic term, referring to a large number of heterogeneous peoples who populate the area near the Lulua River, between the Kasai and Sankuru Rivers. The Lulua people migrated from West Africa during the 18th century and settled in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). They number 300,000 and live in small regional chiefdoms and in times of crisis elect a common chief. The role of the village chief is to ensure political, legal and social cohesion. During the late 19th century, Lulua culture underwent radical changes. In 1875, the Lulua king, Kalambam, introduced new social and religious rules, which ended the traditional consumption of palm wine and the ban on hemp smoking. They produced few masks, but mostly statues of ancestors representing the ideal warrior, mulalenga wa nkashaama , as well as the chief of the Leopard society and statuettes mbulenga related to nature spirits.
Ref:"Initiates, Congo Basin". Ed.musée Dapper; "L'art africain", Kerchache
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