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Male Ancestor Figure
This figure from the southern Congo is a stunning example of a carved, wooden ancestor that was kept in a shrine. Hailing from the Kalundwe people, who inhabited the western borderlands of the vast Luba Kingdom, it shows a mix of influences from both the Luba and also from neighboring peoples like the Chokwe. Whereas the Luba typically produced female figures, the Kalundwe venerated male ancestors such as this one. Although the reason for this is not entirely clear, it may be somehow related to a historic shift from matrilineal to patrilineal rule, described in Kalundwe legends. The figure's complex hairstyle indicates that it represents a person of high status, possibly a paramount chief. If the figure depicted is of such senior descent it would not be suprising, since Kalundwe elders from the three royal clans maintained ancestral shirnes for their former rulers.
from Morton, Dimensions of Power (South Bend, 2018)