The Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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Lulua peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Female Figure, Lupinga lua Luimpe
Nineteenth century
Wood, incrustation
H. 17 in. (43.2 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 75.91

Lulua carvers are best known for their female figures, such as this one, which was believed to bring good fortune to newborns and their mothers. The figures have features which the Lulua considered beautiful in women, such as elaborately styled hair, intricate scarification patterns, decorative skirts, and prominent navels, which also serve as a visual reminder of the link between mothers and their children.