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Nsakakabemba (Bow Stand)

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Mbidi Kiluwe is a hero in the Luba culture, famed for his hunting skills. He is often depicted with his most cherished possession, his bow. That’s why ornate bow stands (nsakakabemba) often remind Luba people of their origins and relationship to...


Kilonda (Ceremonial Axe)

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This type of axe, known as kilonda was mainly produced by the Songye, but also by the Nsapo and Luba. Though their shape was largely inspired by functional weapons, they were strictly symbols of prestige and pageantry. Songye blacksmiths are...


Kpinga (Throwing Knife)

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While historically used as a weapon amongst the sophisticated armies of the Zande and Nzakara, this type of throwing knife, known as kpinga, became obsolete in the 20th century, and became more an object of symbolism than function. In particular,...


Domu (Figurative Harp)

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Mangbetu musicians often performed to entertain their communities. Singing songs about their travels and heroic deeds performed by their elders. Central to these songs is the domu harp. While it has been attributed to many peoples over the years,...


Bango (Prestige Blade)

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In abstract human form, the bango (or bwagogambanza) blade displays symmetry and sophistication. Elsen describes the function of this blade type as "luxury weapons for notables and chiefs." They were also used ceremonially, notably in initiation...


Kasangala (Arbiter Figure)

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Bwami is a central initiation society that governs the lives of the Lega people. Bwami is believed to strengthen the bonds of community by ways of teaching morality through performances, dances, and objects. The Bwami association includes five...