Chokwe Maternity figure (Luena)


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This Chokwe Maternity figure is also sometimes referred to as a fertility figure, is from the Luena people of Angola. Their culture is very similar to the Chokwes, which makes their art very difficult to tell apart. This Luena maternity figure can be identified as such due to the style of hair the the placement of the scarification marks. The history of the Chokwes and the Luena tribes steams from the unpopular marriage of a Lueji/Lunda princess to a Luba prince called Tshibinda Iiunaga (meaning the great hunter). Due to the unpopularity of the marriage some of the princess brothers went into exile and established what is now known as the Chokwe (Tchokwe) tribe. The maternity figure itself is iconic of Angolan art and is not simply a reoccurring theme but a statement of spiritual power – supporting their societies need for fertility and the promise of future generations. The figure are commonly used in shrines and petitioned and prayed to for fertility and successful deliveries.

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