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

Lega/Songola mask (N° 20531)

The primitive Lega sculptures in African art. This mask, which was not intended to be worn, but handled during rituals, has a flat structure on which circular openings indicate the eyes and mouth. The patina consists of granular residues of white clay. This African mask Lega indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks,and which was joined by wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of the ngandu .
Total height on base: 41 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. 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. Social recognition and authority had to be earned individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and impeccable behavior. During ritual ceremonies, the Idumu masks, collectively owned, were presented to the initiates placed on a fence and surrounded by individual masks of smaller size. Ref : "Trésors d'Afrique, Musée de Tervuren" p.239 and 375.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
EthnyLega
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height26
Width17
Weight0.84 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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