Male figure standing on animal

Eastern Luba-related peoples
Late 19th–early 20th century
more object details

General Description

Hands on his hips , this male figure stands securely on the back of an animal. The precise meaning of this figure is unclear. It may allude to Mbidi Kiluwe, the culture hero, in the guise of the hunting spirit Luwe as he rides the lead animal of a herd toward the hunter's blind or pit trap. In the Luba epic, Mbidi Kiluwe is a foreign hunter and warrior from the east who introduced sacred kingship to the indigenous population that became the Luba. Among the peoples conquered by the Luba or who otherwise came under Luba influence, Mbidi Kiluwe is depicted riding on the back of a buffalo, an elephant, or antelope. Such figures were enshrined and maintained by hunters who believed Luwe would ensure a successful hunt, thereby providing meat for the community.

Adapted from

  • Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.
  • Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 154-155.