African art > Statues > League Figurines
Lega initiation statuette of the Bwami (N° 18790)
Carved symbol illustrating a proverb, intended for an initiate of the initiatory society of the Bwami, this figure has a face resembling the masks of the ethnic group. The "legs" take the form of a circular stool with four uprights. Beige patina, kaolin residues. Cracks of desiccation.
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.
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