African art > African Statues > League Figures
Statues League Sakimatwematwe (N° 17742)
Combined with a notion of foresight, this African sculpture Sakimatwematwe (Multi-heads) forms a symbol for an insider of the Bwami. Four thick, half-flexed legs support a trunk on which clump together, separated by a central ring, twelve bleached faces whose eyes stare in opposite directions. Related to a Lega proverb, with two or more heads, this statuette would always illustrate the need for a global view of events, and therefore the prudence, wisdom and impartiality that should result from it. (Biebuyck 1973) Grainy patina. Desication cracks.
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The teacher guided the aspirant to a place where masks and statuettes were exposed, 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, 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 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. The Objects Masengo Bwami ('powerful things') frequently present shortages, perforations, or abrasions of wood, due to ritual samples in order to use medicine. A decoction consisting of particles mixed with water was then administered to the patient. (Biebuyck 1976) Grainy kaolin patina.
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