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Seated woman, attributed to Sikito. Light, fine - grained wood. Head dress and loincloth fine polished. Musee Royal de L'Afrique Centrale. Height: 24 cm.

Mbundu (Mbunda, Ovimbundu)

The Mbundu is a Bantu-speaking ethnic group living in southern Angola, comprising some 20 indigenous chiefdoms. Today mixed farmers they used to be long - distance traders over much of Central Africa. They should not be confused with the Kimbundu. The centre of the art of the Mbundu people lies on the high plateau of Benguela in the Western Angola where they live. The most important groups of Mbundu are: the Bailundu, the Bihe, the Wanbu, the Ngalangi, the Kakonda, the Chiaka and the Ndulu all of which has several smaller vassal chiefdoms.
The Mbundu style region includes also the coastal region where the Chilenge, the Libolo and the Sele  live. Sometimes Mbundu works have been mistaken for the Chokwe because of  the great influence of  the latter. The authority of a Mbundu chief was not  hereditary - a council elected a sovereign, but he was chosen only from among the members of the royal clan.

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Pipe carved with the figure of a young woman holding a calabash vase. Light wood, fine polish on braided hairdo and loincloth. Metal mouthpiece is missing from the top of the head. Collection V. Bandeira, Cascais, Portugal. Height: 29 cm.

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