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

Lega Bwami mask (N° 20554)

Mask offering an oval face, in which the heart-shaped orbits present an asymmetric look. Residual incrustations of kaolin. Golden patina. This carving indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, an apprenticeship society composed of different grades, and which was joined by wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of the ngandu. Height on base: 29 cm.
Within the Lega, 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. Following their exodus from Uganda during the seventeenth century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. In ritual ceremonies, Idumu masks were presented to initiates placed on a fence and surrounded by smaller sized masks. The teacher would guide the aspirant to a place where masks and statuettes were displayed, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these metaphors, the latter referring largely 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 great expense to the families. Each of these initiations took place over seven days and involved at least seven performances. Objects "won" individually were then kept in a woven bag worn on the shoulder, in a basket for those won collectively. (Art of the Lega, Cameron)  

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350.00 
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OriginColl. belge V
EthnyLega
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height25
Width19
Weight1.10 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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