The African masks Lega are used as part of the initiations of the Bwami society, open to men and women. Some were not carried, but placed on a rack or held in the hand.
The passage of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain individual wisdom and morality.
Abraded two-tone patina. Erosions.
Height on base: 37 cm.
Within the Léga, 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. The role of chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. Social recognition and authority also had to be earned individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and irreproachable behavior. During ritual ceremonies, the Idumu masks, of collective property, were presented to the initiates placed on a barrier and surrounded by individual masks of smaller format.
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