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Tribal art > African Statues > Statue Lwena

Statue Lwena (N° 15063)

Of Lunda origin, the Lwena emigrated from Angola to Zaire in the 19th century, repelled by the Chokwe. When some became slave traders, others, the Lovale, found refuge in Zambia. Their society is matrilineal, exogamous and polygamous. The Lwena became known for their honey-coloured sculptures, embodying figures of deceased ancestors and chiefs, and their masks related to the initiation rites of the mukanda . This figure of power seems to be linked to the prestigious hunting society of The Lwena. Equipped with a machete and fruit, the character would symbolize fertility. However, the meaning of the position of the feet, curiously sculpted upside down, is not known to us.
Missing at the top (for ritual purposes?), abrasions, clear matte patina.
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.  

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Originex-collection française
EthnyLunda
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm70
Width20 cm
Weight3.85 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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