Associated with animal qualities, this initiation figure, zoomorphic, represents a quadruped (mugugugundu) from the Lega environment. The statuette belonged to a high ranking member of the Bwami.
Dark brown satin patina.
Following their exodus from Uganda during 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 hilltops. The role of chief, kindi , is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, the men hunt and clear land while the women cultivate cassava. The Bwami , a secret society admitting men and their wives , governed social life . This organization was subdivided into initiatory stages, the highest being the Kindi .
The Bwami had different degrees, the yananio and kindi being the highest. 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 associated with the sculptures, referring largely to proverbs and sayings. Each of these initiations took place over seven days and included at least seven performances. The objects "won" individually were then kept in a woven bag worn on the shoulder, in a basket for those won collectively.
Litt. Art of the Lega" E.L.Cameron
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