TRIBAL AFRICAN ART

KUSU (also see related Luba, Songye and Hemba)

About 60,000 Kusu live on the left bank of Lualaba River. During their exodus from north, they passed through Luba, Hemba and Songye lands where they assimilated social and artistic traditions of these tribes. They are divided into clans, each headed by a chief Wembi, assisted by village chiefs, known as Mwamkana, and by family chiefs called Bankumi. Historically, the Kusu were hunters, but now they grow maize, yams, beans, and raise animals, including cows, pigs, goats, and chickens. Fishing  is performed by both men and women. Nothing precise is known about the Kusu art. It is relatively rare and is highly influenced by the neighboring Luba, Songye, and Hemba. Statues are usually carved from dark red wood sometimes covered with an oily patina. No Kusu masks have been identified so far.

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