Peoples & Societies

Hemba

Previously considered part of the Luba peoples, the Bantu-speaking Hemba create art that is somewhat similar in style to that of the Luba, but represents a culture that is independent from the Luba. Today, the eighty thousand Hemba are farmers and hunters in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they live in large clans of families with a common ancestor. The cult of ancestors plays an important role in the Hemba's matriarchal society, and most art is produced for this cult. Sculptors carve wooden ancestor figures and masks for ceremonies dedicated to the cult.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 302.

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