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

Lega Lukwakongo mask (N° 18928)

A flat shape on which edges draw severe lines for this African Lega mask. It was not worn in front of the face but was placed on a rack with other masks of different sizes, attached to the arm, the neck, or held by hand. This African Lega mask was an emblem of the kongabulumbu , lower stage of the Bwami (similar copy in "Trésors d'Afrique" ed. C.De Vries - Brouwers, p.239). This learning society, composed of different grades, was joined by wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of ngandu . Height on pedestal: 37 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 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, these individuals live in autonomous villages surrounded by palisades, usually on hilltops. The role of chief, Kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who is expected to be the highest ranking member. As in other forest tribes, the men hunt and clear land while the women grow cassava. Social recognition and authority was also to be gained individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and irreproachable behavior. In ritual ceremonies, Idumu masks were presented to initiates placed on a fence and surrounded by smaller masks. This mask is used during the initiation rites of the Bwami society. It is open to both men and women. The passing of a grade indicated the acquisition of a certain individual wisdom and morality.  

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OriginCollection allemande
EthnyLega
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height24
Width12
Weight0.15 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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