African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Figurines Lega
Wayinda Lega Figurines (N° 18927)
African lega art and initiation materials.
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Anthropomorphic statuette whose specificity lies in the truncated arms, and a rounded excrescence of the abdomen representing a pregnancy. These statuettes would return, according to Cameron in "Art of the Lega" (p.158), to an unfaithful wife. Abraded patina revealing a light wood. Erosion.
Among the many others used throughout the initiations, it belonged to an initiate of the 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).
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