By Carla Herling
Drake University (formerly University of Iowa)

Democratic Republic of the Congo; Luba peoples


Wood, glass, metal

50 cm (19 11/16”)

Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company, 81.17.905

This figure from the Luba people of southeast Democratic Republic of the Congo carries her infant on her back. Most such objects were clothed with cloth wrappers, to reflect the local values of modesty and correct deportment, when they were being used by the people who had commissioned them. In most cases this clothing has been stripped away by dealers or Western collectors so that the figure conforms to Western expectations of figural sculpture as art.