Human

By Carla Herling
Drake University (formerly University of Iowa)

Democratic Republic of the Congo; Luluwa peoples

Tshibola figure

Wood

H. 22 cm (11")

The University of Iowa Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection, X1986.562

Luluwa figures are carried in the woman's wrapper at the belt, where she will carry her newborn child. Just as the dolls used by the Mossi and Asante, as well as the images of twins of the Yoruba represent the idealized adult, the female figures are depicted complete with the elaborate scars, hairstyles, and jewelry that conform to the Luluwa ideals of adult female beauty and that will attract the tshibola spirit to inhabit the figure. The figures are covered with red camwood powder mixed with tukula (oil) or with chalk.