BaPende woman ancestor

Bapende sculpture with upraised arms

Exquisite sculptures
from a matrilineal culture in southern Congo.

The BaPende never went in for centralized state power, and their idea of chiefdom was minimalist. This decentralized and non-militarized ethic was a factor in their being chased north from Angola during the Lunda expansion circa 1620.

Even after this historic trauma, the matrilineal clans remained the primary socio-political unit of BaPende society.

And what artists!


--Max Dashu



Ancestral Mothers
of the BaPende

Red-painted ancestral woman of the BaPende, southern Congo



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Angled view of BaPende ancestor relief in wood


Ancestral woman, BaPende, Congo