Study for the left-hand panel of a triptych 'Ruandi-Urundi', illustrated in Revue coloniale belge, Brussels, 1948. It was offered in 1947 by these mandated countries to Mr Jungers, governor general of the Belgian Congo, and formerly governor of Ruanda-Urundi.
These famous dancers, the 'Intore', traditionally sons of chiefs or notables of the Tutsi people, were the elite of the army. Given a long traning in the arts of war and sport, they would perform acrobatic dances at the court of the ruler, or mwami. Their full-dress were characterised by the skin of a leopard or serval, a fibre headdress, jewellery, and lance or a staff hung with streams of raphia. When Deckers painted them in Astrida, in Ruanda, they were kept by the Mwami Mutara III, but, by then, only performed on special occasions.