A FINE BENA LULUA STATUE
Provenance: Philip Goldman, London
The Bena Lulua made distinctive carvings with elaborate patterns engraved on the surface alluding to extremely complex body scarification. The concentric circles and spirals probably allude to the ripples created by stones thrown into water. This figure represents an important chief, for his neck is covered with strands of rare beads and his waist is encircled by a leopard-skin garment that could be worn only by chiefs. A conch shell carved on the figure’s back held a powerful potion. Figures like this were taken by warriors into battle to strengthen morale and help repel the enemy.
Bene Lulua people, Democratic Republic of Congo
Wood, 15 x 7 cm, nice patina of use.