Peoples & Societies


The Bantu-speaking Pende peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo were at one time overwhelmed by the Chokwe, but regained their independence with the rise of colonialism in the 20th century. Pende art, which varies by region, shows stylistic similiarities with the Chokwe and the Luba. Chiefs use carved objects, such as stools and staffs, as symbols of their power, and wooden or fiber masks are made for initiation and healing ceremonies as well as for masquerades that entertain and reinforce social norms. Although carved figures are rare, Pende artists carve ivory pendants in the form of miniature masks. The Pende peoples number five hundred thousand and sustain their villages through agriculture, selling the harvest at markets run by women.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 304.

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