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Luba (Louba, Baluba,Balouba) Art and Masks


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Baluba Mask 3
African Masks - Baluba Mask 3 

Baluba Mask 46
African Masks - Baluba Mask 46 

Baluba Mask 47
African Masks - Baluba Mask 47 

Baluba Statuette 1 - Luba King
African Statues - Baluba Statue 1 

Baluba Mask 16
African Masks - Baluba Mask 16 

Baluba Mask 18 (16 inches)
African Masks - Baluba Mask 18 

Baluba Mask 7
African Masks - Baluba Mask 7 

Baluba Mask 22
African Masks - Baluba Mask 22 

Baluba Mask 24
African Masks - Baluba Mask 24 

Baluba Mask 20
African Masks - Baluba Mask 20 

Baluba Mask 11
African Masks - Baluba Mask 11 


Baked earthenware, drums, carved or painted representations of animals; all are essential elements of African art. But few objects are as closely identified with Africa’s indigenous art as the mask. Masked dancers are depicted in cave paintings from Libya to South Africa; painted images found in the Tassili n'Ajjer Mountain Range of Algeria suggest that masks have been worn there for 4,000, perhaps 5,000 years; and some archeologists believe that Paleolithic Africans wore animal heads as long ago as 40,000 years. Even today, mask creators are considered of a higher caste in African society because of their exposure to paranormal realms through their work.


Some of the most dazzling masks come from the Luba, or Baluba people, most of whom inhabit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and number roughly 1,000,000. Luba masks are easily recognizable by their intricate patterns of colorful beadwork, hammered brass and bronze built on a round wooden base. Though they exhibit exceptional craftsmanship and artistry, these masks are not created as art, but for their supernatural powers. Wearing these masks during ceremonies and rituals, a dancer enters a trance and channels messages from the Luba people's ancestors. Each mask represents a specific spirit, some benevolent, others malevolent; and the Luba believe that these spirits inhabit the wearer’s body during the ceremony.

Baluba Mask 51
African Masks - Baluba Mask 51 


Baluba Mask 34
African Masks - Baluba Mask 34 


Baluba Mask 2
African Masks - Baluba Mask 2 


  Baluba Mask 36
African Masks - Baluba Mask 36 
Baluba Mask 37
African Masks - Baluba Mask 37 
Baluba Mask 38
African Masks - Baluba Mask 38 
  Baluba Mask 45
African Masks - Baluba Mask 45
 Research Archives: Baluba


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*Luba Text Copyright© 2015, Christopher Leonard