Although the history of the Luba people is one of violence and warfare, their artistic style is characterized by harmonious integration of organically related forms. The traditional carvings are for ancestor and spirit cults, for initiation, medical and divination purposes. The favorite theme in sculpture was woman since, according to a Luba myth, vilie was the first woman spirit, founder of the clan and guarantor of fertility and the lineage. Women were cult guardians, and the royal wives played an important role: sent as emissaries to the chiefs of neighboring ethnicities, they would contract profitable political alliances based on marriage. The raised hands may mean a gesture as a part of the ancestor cult.