African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega mask

Masque Lega Lukwakongo (N° 14158)

Lega Minimalism in African Art
Named Lukwagengo, these African masks are worn on the face but on the back of the head, hung on the shoulders, fixed on a bamboo stand or carried by hand during dances
These are the badges of the penultimate rank of bwami initiates who surround a mother mask named idumu .
The wooden versions measure about 20 cm while the bone or even ivory versions are even smaller. 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. The passage of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain individual wisdom and morality.
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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 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.

source: "The Tribal Art of Black Africa"
J.B. Bacquart  

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OriginEx-collection Calbanen
EthnyLega
CountryRDC
Material(s)wood
Height15
Width9
Weight0.20 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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