Luluwa small figurine


Bwangwa bwa Cibola: Luluwa art

Authentic male Luluwa statue, the wear and patina thereof testify to repeated ritual manipulation and use. The hair is pulled in a horn shape at the top of the head. The face is broad with large almond-shaped eyes, a small nose and a small mouth, with a pointed chin that can represent a beard. The thick collar is incised with a series of small squares to represent a necklace. The body has a swollen belly with a large navel and on the chest and upper arms there is a series of geometric patterns engraved to represent scarification marks.

The Luluwa are part of the Bantu ethnic group. They are known for their intricately carved statues that display the intricate scarification marks they wear in life. Other objects created by the Luluwa are also decorated with scarification marks, testifying to the high esteem they place on them. Statues like this represent the great chiefs of the past who are revered as protective ancestors. The statues are placed in the ground when the head of the family is absent to protect the household. They are also placed on small mounds and offered food in the hope that they will bless a good hunt. The elaborate scarification marks thus represent the high social status of the person depicted.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
Circa 1930
15 x 3 cm
Ethnic group
Lulua / Bena-Lulua / Luluwa
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Tribal art collection Belgium

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