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King Lukengu

Black and white postcard, Bakuba or Kuba ethnic group, c. 1948-1960, gift of Madge Rice, 1972.16.7.1

This postcard shows the majestically enthroned King Lukengu. He ruled over the Bakuba or more commonly known modernly as the Kuba ethnic group. To show his royalty, Lukengu is adorned with a garment of leopard skin almost completely covered with cowrie shells. He wears a crown stuffed full of eagle feathers. To show his might, he wields a sword in one hand and an assegai (a short, slender, iron-tipped, hardwood spear) in the other. The Kuba are a fascinating people due to their limited exposure to the global world. They were far enough inland of now modern day Democratic Republic of Congo that they were unaffected by the African slave trade and only slightly disturbed by the colonization of the Congo by the Belgians near the end of the 19th century.

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