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

Lega mask (N° 21732)

Mask offering the physiognomy of a primate. Kaolin residues. This sculpted work indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society made up of different ranks, and which were joined by the wives whose husbands had reached the third level, that of ngandu . Height including beard: 48 cm. Within the Léga, the Bwami society, open to men and women, organized social and political life. There were up to seven initiation levels, each associated with emblems. Following their exodus from Uganda in the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in DRC. During ritual ceremonies, Idumu masks were presented to initiates placed on a barrier and surrounded by smaller masks. The teacher guided the aspirant to a place where masks and statuettes were displayed, and it is through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these metaphors, the latter largely referring to proverbs. and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected from it, had to undergo costly ceremonies, and sometimes even join the lower rank of the Bwami, the kongabulumbu , at large fees for families. Each of these initiations took place over seven days and included at least seven performances. Individually "won" items were then kept in a woven shoulder bag, in a basket for those won collectively. (Art of the Lega, Cameron)  

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OriginEx-collection belge
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, raphia
Height cm27
Width17 cm
Weight0.26 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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