By Carla Herling
Drake University (formerly University of Iowa)

Democratic Republic of the Congo; Luluwa peoples

Tshibola figure


H. 43.2 cm (17”)

Indiana University Art Museum, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 75.91

One of the most noticeable characteristics of the Luluwa style is the emphasis of the umbilicus, which is the link between a mother and a child and is a reference to kinship traced through the mother's line. This superb Luluwa figure holds a bowl in which the white clay, a symbol of ancestral spirits, was placed. The scars that cover the body are especially elaborate.