African art > Mask > League Masque
Lukungu League Masque (N° 14746)
Convex-shaped, this African ivory mask called lukungu was worn on the arm. It is decorated with a décor in the circle point. and cauris appearing the eyes. This mask was reserved for high-ranking initiates, that of the kindi, one of the different ranks of the Bwami, a learning society joined by wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of ngandu. 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 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, these individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on the top of hills. The role of the leader, kindi, is held by the oldest man of the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, men hunt and clear while women grow cassava. Social recognition and authority also had to be won individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and impeccable behavior. During ritual ceremonies, Idumu masks were presented to insiders placed on a fence and surrounded by smaller masks. From the tribal art collection Guy Mercier, consultant for the Solvay group, which began it at the beginning of the 20th century. While radiating in West and Central Africa as part of his work, and collecting in-situ works, the majority of his collection is nevertheless derived from Curiosity cabinets which abounded in European capitals during the 1920s. It also comes from prestigious galleries (Paris, Brussels, London, New York). This collection was entrusted to us by his grandson, Mr. Jean Charles Mercier.
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|Origin||Ex. collection Mercier|
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