The sophisticated art of the Luba stands alone among Congolese peoples. Endowed with natural resources, they cultivated the arts at levels above their neighbors. In the third quarter of the 19th century, the culture collapsed as a result of factional infighting for succession. It was then that they turned to slaving, supplying slaves to the Portuguese in Angola. This example dates from that period and executes Luba artistic design with advanced sculptural and forging skills. The blade is functional in the close quarters of a kraal or hut. The hilt embodies the grace of the fine Luba sculptures in ivory and bone. Notably, in sharp contrast to the hilts of virtually all other slaver’s weapons, it has been respected as sculpture by its owner, carefully preserving the surface and sparing it the gaudy tack, wire and tape band decoration, a graphic demonstration of the hereditary disposition to art of the Luba. See Fischer #242 and #243 for similar but slightly plainer examples. Total length, 20 1/4”. Display stand.