Exhibitions: The Arts of Africa

Mother with Child (Lupingu Lua Luimpe)

When a Lulua woman lost successive children through miscarriages or early infant death, she could be initiated into the Bwanga Bwa Cibola cult, which offered protection through the intervention of spirits.

Cult members rubbed figures such as this daily with a mixture of oil and clay, giving them a glossy surface. A Lulua woman would care for a figure such as this until her successful delivery.