Peoples & Societies


Founded in 1585 by King Kongolo, the Luba kingdom of the present-day southeastern Democratic Kingdom of the Congo, peaked in the 17th century when it controlled a federation of kingdoms. Luba art is made for the veneration of ancestors, secret societies, and the king's court. The frequent depiction of women in Luba art, particularly on prestige objects, attests to the iconic status of women in the matriarchal society. The empire began to collapse in the 1860s as a result of raids, slave traders, and Belgian consolidation. Today the Luba number over four million people.

Adapted from

Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 303.

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Learn about the Luba peoples.

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