African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega mask
Lega Lukungu mask (N° 20375)
The lega lukungu masks, such as this one made of a turtle shell, were worn on the arm. The surface has a "circle point" pattern. The braided border made of vegetable fibers is decorated with dried seeds. The turtle, for the Lega, evokes wisdom and prudence derived from experience. This mask was reserved for initiates of high rank, that of the kindi, one of the different ranks of the Bwami. At the death of the initiate, the mask was placed on his grave and then passed on to his nephew. Hanging link at the top
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("Art of the Lega" E.L.Cameron).
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 in the seventeenth century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, they live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on hilltops. The role of chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, the men hunt and clear land while the women cultivate cassava. Social recognition and authority had to be earned individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and impeccable behavior.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Material(s)||carapace de tortue, |
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