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Tea Party Toys? Classical Kisalian Grave Goods from the Upemba (D.R. Congo)

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image of Journal of African Archaeology

The continuous Iron Age sequence that connects the 10th century Kisalian in central Africa to the present day inhabitants of the area, the Luba, provides a rare opportunity to link archaeological data to ethnographic observations. Numerous Kisalian graves reflect the elaborate rituals and beliefs and the complex socioeconomic organization of that period. One of its intriguing aspects is the extensive use of various miniature objects as grave goods, for children and adults. The widespread Luba practice of making miniature objects for their children, as well as in connection with the spiritual world, is thus likely to date back many centuries and testifies to the symbolic qualities of miniatures.

Affiliations: 1: Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)


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