Kuba and related people of the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo have lived under the authority of kings and titleholders since at least the seventeenth century. Rank and position have historically been important markers of status indicated by praise songs and prestige items. Sumptuous personal possessions include cups for drinking palm wine, a beverage that high-ranking people would offer to guests as an act of generosity. One of the cups shown here depicts a high-ranking person; the other, a bound and naked prisoner. Both convey the authority of Kuba kingship.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.