220722 - Traditional African shield from the Luba - Congo.
Traditional African Rare Shield from the Luba, Congo.
Hand carved from a single piece of wood, with decoration.
Height: 43 cm.
The vast Luba territory, comprising the entire southeastern part of the DRC, as far as Tanganyika and Lake Mweru, is uniform as regards language and culture, but racially mixed. Although the history of the Luba people is one of violence and warfare, their artistic style is characterized by harmonious integration of organically related forms. The splendid artistic achievements of the Luba are due to a felicitous intermingling of different racial and cultural elements, and to the high standards prevailing at the court. Luba arts counts amongst the finest that Africa has to offer. Artists occupied a privileged place in the hierarchy. The Luba artist carried a ceremonial ax on his shoulder, an emblem of prestige and of dignity of his position. Some apprentices would be recruited from among the deformed, who could neither hunt nor be warriors and who were believed to have a close connection.1