African art > African mask > Masque League

Masque League (N° 14398)

This African mask offers a bleached face with sculpted heart sockets. It has a long raffia beard. It is characterized by notches superimposed along the nasal ridge and continuing on the eyebrows, representing tribal scarifications. Star motifs are pyrograved on the forehead. This African Lega mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and which were joined by wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Within the Lega, the society of Bwami 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 called Warega, these individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on top of hills. The role of the chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in 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 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 men and women. The passage of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain individual wisdom and morality.  

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Originex-collection Charles Dunant
EthnyLega
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, plant fibre
Height21
Width16
Weight0.22 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°
Socle inclusOptional

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