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Masque Lega Kwame (N° 18375)
Lega primitive sculptures in African art. Mask used by Kwame , Kweme , a Lega subgroup living in North Kivu province with similar societies and rites. Its protruding cheekbones, under large concave orbits, form its peculiarity. It indicated the stage reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and joined by the wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of the ngandu. Locally abraded glossy patina. H. on pedestal: 37 cm.
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At the Lea, the society of the 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 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, which were collectively owned, were presented to insiders placed on a fence and surrounded by individual masks of smaller size. 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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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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