african masksTabwa
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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Tabwa art

Historically, Tabwa people lived under Luba domination across DRC (formerly Zaire) and Zambia, along lake Tanganika.

Their power is counterbalanced by male societies created on Luba prototypes and by female associations influenced by East African models. Their single chief is assisted by a council of nobles.


Tabwa janus profile

The Tabwa art is influenced by Tanzanian neighbors and Luba. Tabwa figures display typical face and elongated features.

Tabwa ancestor figures prestige objects role was to assert the chiefs authority. 

Tabwa-janus.jpg (118036 bytes) They measure between 20 cm and 70cm, shape elongated figures stand on a circular base, with slightly bent legs, their hands resting on their abdomen and have an elongated neck supporting a rounded head with often linear scarifications. They were placed on dedicated shrines, and covered with an oily patina, result of continuous libations.

Janus figures are rather rare carvings and used during inauguration ceremonies - a reference to enthronement ceremonies.

It also has some Tubwe influence, since the face lack facial scarifications


Tabwa janus headBibliography:

- "A century of Tabwa Art ", Exh. Cat. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, 1985

- "La sculpture Batabwa", Bernard De Grunne, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1980

- "Tabwa Metaegonmena" Van Geluwe, Huguette, Tervueren 1986

Back to  african tribe list  Zaire - DRCongo

Some text of this page  is  taken from The Tribal arts of Africa

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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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read also : Start ] Lega masks ] Kongo-Yombe-Bembe ] Luba- Lion king ] Teke ] Salampasu ] [ Tabwa ] Tchokwe Lunda ] Yaka-tribe ] Kuba ]

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