African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega Statues
Lega Statues (N° 19024)
African lega art and initiation materials.
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African tribal sculpture Sakimatwematwe (Multi-headed) belonging to an initiate of the Bwami, among the many others used during initiations. The structure is in the form of a central trunk, carried by legs, around groups of faces are superimposed, directed towards the four cardinal points. The teacher guided the aspirant to a place where 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 metaphors, the latter referring largely to proverbs and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected from it, had to submit to costly ceremonies, and sometimes even join the lower rank of Bwami, the kongabulumbu ,at great expense to the families. Each of these initiations lasted seven days and included at least seven performances. The objects "won" individually were then kept in a woven bag carried on the shoulder, in a basket for those who were won collectively.
The " Masengo " objects of the Bwami ("powerful things") frequently have lacks, perforations, or abrasions in the wood, due to ritual removal for the purpose of medicine. A decoction composed of the particles mixed with water was then administered to the patient (Biebuyck 1976) Two-tone patina. A tuft of feathers is generally inserted at the top.
Relative to a Lega proverb, endowed with two or more heads, this statuette would always illustrate the need for a global vision of events, and thus the prudence, wisdom and impartiality that should result from it (Biebuyck 1973).
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