African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure
Iginga Lega of Bwami figure (N° 20286)
br>In African art, this anthropomorphic Lega sculpture, lacking arms, was intended for an initiate of the Bwami . It was part of a set used during initiations. The teacher guided the lega aspirant to a place where African lega masks and statuettes were displayed, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these objects, veritable metaphors referring largely to proverbs and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected from it, had to undergo costly 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 involved at least seven performances. Objects "won" individually were then kept in a woven bag worn on the shoulder, in a basket for those won collectively.
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Locally abraded smooth patina. Residue of kaolin. Desiccation cracks.
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 seventeenth century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, they live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on hilltops. The role of chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, the men hunt and clear land while the women cultivate cassava. Social recognition and authority had to be earned individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and irreproachable behavior
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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