African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure
Lega initiation figure of the Bwami (N° 19246)
African lega art and initiation materials.
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Anthropomorphic statuette whose massive head sinks into a swollen bust. The small hands, with fine fingers, meet under the chin of the creature. Thick legs support the whole. Bwami. 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 the metaphors evoked by the sculptures, 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).
Satin patina and residual kaolin incrustations. Abrasions and desiccation cracks.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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