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Luba Art And Possible Meanings

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The art from the Luba people seems to place an emphasis on women. The

emphasis on women in their art probably means that the Luba people are a

matrilineal society and that women are important not only in the home but in other

aspects of society. For example, the image of the woman on the staffÐ'... The staff is

a symbol of male power, but the image engraved on the staff is a woman. You can

see the breasts, the slightly protruding belly as if the figure is pregnant, and the

female like genitalia carved into the figure. I believe that this is so because man

comes from woman and it is woman that takes care of him throughout his life, be it

his mother, daughter, sister, wife, aunt, or grandmotherÐ'... There is always a

woman behind a man, caring for him and encouraging him.

The second image is that of what appears to be an elderly person. The face

is carved with ridges that could be wrinkles. There are no visible ears The eyes are

small and so is the mouth. Only the nose is large and prevalent on the face. This

tells me that these are people that value privacy, that minding your own business

would be considered important in this culture. It seems to me that if speaking was

believed to be essential to the Luba people then the mouth would have been carved

larger and that if listening to the goings-on of your neighbors were valued the ears

would be observable. The eyes would have been larger if looking at things that

were none of your concern was a something the society valued.

The women in the figure holding the sacred vessel in order to commune

with spirits have the hair carved in the elaborately adorned styles of their people.

This figure was given greater detail than the previous two. They look more

realistic than abstract, almost as if the artist could have based them after someone

he knew. It



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