Bwami lega mask, perhaps animal because of its elongated structure, tightened at the level of the jaw treated as a rectangle. The cross patterns would symbolize a mane or coat.
These masks indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society made up of different grades, and joined by wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of ngandu.
Golden beige patina.
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. 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, Idumu masks were presented to initiates placed on a barrier and surrounded by masks of smaller format.
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