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The Mangbetu are among the most civilised and intelligent of the Central African tribes.

They are not as black as their neighbours, some of the chief families being as light as pale olive-brown, though the ordinary colour is bronze.

They often have brown or red hair, and high-bridged noses are found...

Above: A Medje wood-carver and painter in front of his hut.



The elaborate coiffure of the wife of a chief of the Dongoenas of Southern Angola.
The extended adornment is an elaboration of the ear decoration.



War is forbidden in Kenya, but the Kikuyu warrior still decks himself in his war-paint.

When he goes courting he sheathes his lance-point in a plume; by taking the lance the maiden accepts him as her husband.

Both men and women distend the lobes of their ears, sometimes using jam pots for the purpose.



A Songye male Kifwebe society mask

Height 52 cm

Luba homeland (Kasai eastern part of the D.R.C). The Lomani River divides Songye territory and marks the boundary of the areas invaded by the Luba.

As a result of these geographic and political differences there emerged of two distinct social structures among the eastern and western Songye and two stylistic differences in art forms between the two areas.

The Songye are divided into about 35 subgroups. The paramount chief (Yakitenge) and his advisers are the central power in Songye territory.

Many of the subgroups were actually quite large, were often spread over many miles, and were densely populated .

The Songye traditionally relied mostly on farming and hunting for subsistence.

Because the rivers were associated with the spirits of deceased chiefs who were often buried in them, fishing was not practiced.

These masks were made for the Kifwebe society and were danced at the installation and death of a chief, at initiation and other occasions as punishment, warfare and public works, circumcisions, funerals and visits.

The size and height of the crest indicates seniority

Ref no: 16


A Luba amulet "kakudji" female half figure

Height 19cm



The Luba people live in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in the provinces of Kasai and Shaba (Katanga).

The Luba, mainly Christian since conversions during colonial times has become an advantaged minority.

Women in the Luba society held a place of honor.

Besides filling important political positions such as councilors, advisers, ambassadors, and even chiefs, they were also believed to have enhanced spiritual powers.

This figure was worn on a string, with was tied around the neck or hanging from the belt.

The hole at the top of the head served as a container for power substances.

Ref. Neyt, 1984, p37...it was thought to protect one from danger and evil and to bring good luck in hunt,fertility and health.

Many statues of the Luba and Hemba tribes show the traditional hairstyle in the form of a cross

Ref no:79



A fine Chokwe Royal figure

Height 35cm




The Chokwe spread from their homeland of Angola throughout the southern region of the D.R.C. and Zambia. Professional Chokwe sculptors “songi” learned their skills in a workshop and their works are well made and also show aesthetic qualities, with they call “utotombo.

The courts of the chiefs became the major sources of patronage to fine workman ship as expressed in this from a single block of wood finely sculpted Royal male ancestor on his throne and holding a flywhisk.


Ref no: 37

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