African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure
Lega figure (N° 20895)
The African art lega and initiation materials Sakimatwematwe (Multi-headed).
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Related to a Lega proverb, endowed with three faces, this male figure illustrates the need for a holistic view of events, and thus the prudence, wisdom, and impartiality that should follow.(Biebuyck 1973)
Belonging to an initiate of the Bwami, among the many others used throughout the initiations, this carved object takes the form of a body without arms. The faces point to 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, which largely referred 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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