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Luba Kasai or Kanyok Female Congo African Art

$150.00
Product #: 83467
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Title Luba Kasai or Kanyok Female Congo African Art
Type of Object Carving, miniature
Country of Origin DR Congo
People Luba-Kasai or Kanyok see also Luntu
Materials Wood, pigment, beads, animal skin
Approximate Age second half 20th century
Dimensions 12 inches H. x 2.75 inches W.
Overall Condition Good
Damage/Repair crack in head and arm, chips and holes from old insect damage arrested in head, and in base


Additional Information: A standing female figure carved in a Luba-Kasai or Kanyoka style. The surface shows much handling and good age! 


The Luba-Kasai who live in the present-day Kasai region have used such figurines to serve as power figures. Among the Luba,  miniatures such as this one belong to the category of power figures. They are commissioned by the ritual specialists (Nganga) who use them to heal, protect against evil forces, and for the wealth and well-being of individuals. At the end of the treatment, the patient or client will keep the figurine in his/her house to ensure good long-term relationship with the spirit and get permanent blessings from him.


The Luba-Kasai were part of the ancient Luba Empire. In 18th century, for economic reason, several groups of Luba people lead by different chiefs were forced to live their original site in Katanga in the search of new land. Groups that reached the region between Mbuji-Mayi and Kasai rivers are today known as Luba Mbuji-mayi (the capitol of their region) or Luba-Kasai. They identified themselves under their clan's names and live in the same neighborhood with Lulua, Luntu, Kanyok, Tetela, Kuba, Luntu, Songye etc. The religion, art and culture remain very close to that of the Luba Katanga. Art associated to the kinship is less developed among the Luba Kasai. Big sculptures as well as masks are very rare. Miniatures such as this are common among the Luba-Kasai. They come in various style and show stylistic influences from the Songye, Luluwa, Kanyiok and even Chokwe and Kete. Here, the representation of women is as important as among the Luba in he heartland. Though the vital role of women in any society is obvious, the sculptural and ritual emphasis placed upon them by the Luba is not completely understood. It is thought, however, that the artistic dominance of the female form originated somewhere in Luba mythology.