African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League Figures

Lega zoomorphic figure of Bwami (N° 17444)

Symbol of animal qualities, this statuette, forming the generic figure of a quadruped (mugugundu) from the Lega environment, belonged to a high-ranking Bwami. Kaolin patina. Eclats.br /-Following their exodus from Uganda during the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, these individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on the top of hills. The role of the chief, kindi , is held by the oldest man of the clan, who must be the highest ranked. As in other forest tribes, men hunt and clear while women grow cassava. The Bwami, a secret society admitting men and their wives, governed social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the highest being the Kindi . Bwami has varying degrees, with the yananio and kindi being the highest. The teacher guided the aspirant to a place where masks and statuettes were on display, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of the metaphors associated with the sculptures, largely referring to proverbs and sayings. Each of these initiations took place over seven days and featured at least seven performances. Items won individually were then kept in a woven bag worn over the shoulder, in a basket for those who were won collectively.
Litt.: Art of the Lega E.L.Cameron  

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Originex-collection allemande
EthnyLega
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height6
Width37
Weight0.25 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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