African art > African Statues > Lega statue

Lega statue (N° 14653)

This anthropomorphic Lega sculpture belonged to an initiate of the Bwami and was part of a set used during the initiations. The teacher guided the aspiring lega 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, true metaphors largely referring to proverbs and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected, had to submit to expensive 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 included at least seven performances. Individual items were then kept in a woven bag worn over the shoulder in a basket for those that were won collectively. Crusty skate. Kaolin residue. Desication cracks. Slits at the head.
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 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also called Warega, these individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on top of hills. The role of the chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest-ranking. As in other forest tribes, men hunt and clear while women grow cassava. Social recognition and authority also had to be won individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and impeccable behavior.  

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Originex-collection espagnole
EthnyLega
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height42
Width17
Weight0.85 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1950
Socle includedYes

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