“Mboko” Luba early XX Cent, ex Bel coll
- Alain Naoum – Antique African Art Gallery – Brussels
- “Mboko” Luba early XX Cent, ex Bel coll
The Luba empire was founded in 1585′ in the Upemba depression by King Kongolo. His nephew and successor, Kalala Ilunga rapidly exanded the kingdom to encompass all the territories on the upper left bank of the Lualaba river.
At its peak about one million people living in several tribes, were paying tribute to the Luba king. A the end of the 19century, withe advance of the Ovimbundu people from Angola and the raids of the east African Muslim slavers, the empire weakened and in fact, collapsed when the Belgian colonials took control. With the assistance of a court of notables, called Bamgumus the king known as the MULOPWE reigned over his subjects through clan kings called Balopwe.
These clan kings could symolically becomes the Mulopwe’s son which created client states throughout the empire. A secret society Bambudye kept the memory of the Luba empire alive and permeated throughout the Luba territory bonding the diverse populations together. The Luba empire economy was complex it was based on a tribute system and the redistribution of ressources from agriculture , fishing, hunting, and mining.
T he production of salt and iron was under the king’s control.