African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega mask

Lega mask (N° 23344)

Large mask with a heart-shaped face, where almond-shaped eyelids frame a pointed nose. The mouth is encrusted with metal teeth. Velvety patina of use, blackish residue.
Height on base: 42 cm.
This sculpted work indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society made up of different grades, and which was joined by the wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu. Within the Lega, on the west bank of the Lualaba River, in the DRC, the Bwami society, open to men and women, organized social and political life. There were up to seven levels of initiation, each associated with emblems. Social recognition and authority had to be earned individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and irreproachable behavior. During ritual ceremonies, Idumu masks were presented to initiates placed on a barrier and surrounded by masks of smaller format.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, metal
Height cm29
Width22 cm
Weight1.47 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1960
Socle includedYes

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