African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League Statues
Bwami Lega initiation figure (N° 14724)
This Lega sculpture, whose morphology carved into the block of wood reveals reduced breasts pointing under enveloping shoulders, belonged to an initiate of the Bwami and was part of a set used during the initiations. Fingers like claws placed on the bust extend the arms, all evoking wings. The face qant to him adopts the recurring characteristics of lega sculpture. A flared base supports the object, itself fixed on a circular base.
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Clear and matte patina, abrasions of use, velvety surface.
The Teacher of the Bwami guided the aspiring lega to a place where African lega masks and statuettes were exhibited, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these objects, true metaphors largely referring to proverbs and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected, had to submit to expensive ceremonies, and sometimes even join the lower rank of the Bwami, the kongabulumbu , at great expense to the families. Each of these initiations took place over seven days and included at least seven performances. Individual items were then kept in a woven bag worn over the shoulder in a basket for those that were won collectively.
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|Estimated dating||circa 1960|
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