Lulua Information

Location: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Population: 300,000
Neighbors: Lwalwa, Salampasu
Types of Art: Lulua masks are extremely rare and were probably used during circumcision and funeral ceremonies. They displayed enlarged eyes and complex scarification patterns on their cheeks. Lulua carvers are known mostly for the ancestor figures they produced. The figures carry weapons and shields and represent the ideal warrior, known as the Mukalenga Wa Nkashaama. They also personify the head of the leopard society who is considered to be an intermediary between the living and the dead - between natural and spiritual forces.
Economy: The economy is mainly based on agriculture, but they also trade.
Political Systems: The Lulua live in small regional chiefdoms and in times of crisis elect a single common leader. The role of the village chief is to ensure judicial, political, and social cohesion. In common with the Luba tribespeople, their social structure is based on a caste system which includes noblemen, warriors, freemen, foreigners, and slaves. During the late 19th century, Lulua culture underwent radical changes. In 1875, the Lula king, Kalambam, introduced new social and religious regulations, including the ending of traditional palm-wine drinking, hemp smoking, and the burning of all cult carvings.
Credit: The Tribal Arts of Africa; Bacquart, Jean-Baptiste, p.180