SPECIAL ADVISORY: In accordance with Yale University’s revised COVID-19 protocols, the Yale University Art Gallery is closed to the public until further notice. Learn More

African Art
Full-size image not available for download. Please contact Rights and Reproductions.

Female Figure

late 19th–early 20th century


14 1/2 × 3 1/2 × 3 1/2 in. (36.83 × 8.89 × 8.89 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn for the Linton Collection of African Art
The gesture of placing the hands on the breasts signifies devotion to the spirit world and marks the significant role of women in Luba society. In the past, women acted as royal emissaries or ambassadors and were consulted as advisors. Women from the royal line were married to dignitaries or chiefs outside the kingdom to enlarge the area of its influence.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On view
19th–20th century

Dr. Ralph Linton, Sterling Professor of Anthropology at Yale, unknown date–1953
Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn donated to Yale University Art Gallery for the Linton Collection of African Art in 1954

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.