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The Lulua practiced the cult of Bwanga Bwa Cibola which was thought to help women who suffered repeated still-births. An act of sorcery was blamed for still-births, and the woman consulted a diviner to help her carry her baby to term. The diviner would advise the woman to have herself initiated into the bwanga cult which involved a certain number of dietary taboos and other prohibitions.
This statue would be given to the initiate. She would go on to live in a small dwelling outside the village. The standing statues would be placed in a basket by the woman's bed. Like the other Lulua sculptures this figurine is covered with rich scarifications, which the Lulua see as tokens of beauty.
Provenance: Raskin Collection