The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Art and Initiation in Western Zambia

by Manuel Jordán
Musical Instrument Museum (formerly Birmingham Museum of Art)

AngolaChokwe artist

Mwanangana (figure of a chief)

Wood, hair, hide

H. 40.6 cm (16")

Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas / Art Resource, NY, AP 1978.05

Chokwe people trace their origins to Lunda migrations in the 16th century. Two important characters in the shared histories of Chokwe and Lunda are Lweji and Chibinda Ilunga. Lweji was the first female Lunda chief, who inherited the royal title from her father over two brothers named Chinguli and Chinyama. Lweji met, and eventually married a talented hunter of Luba royal blood called Chibinda Ilunga. Lweji's brothers finally left the Lunda court in Democratic Republic of Congo to conquer new territories in Angola.