German African art collection.Small sculpted figure without arms, whose pointed chin rests on an ovoid bust. The features of the face recall those of lega masks imprinted with kaolin. Locally abraded satin patina.
The African art of the Lega , Balega, or even Warega , is distinguished by its initiation statuettes, also made in ivory, some of which were kept in a basket intended for the highest ranking Bwami of different communities. This type of Iginga ( Maginga in the plural) tribal art statuette was the property of the high ranks of the Bwami, a secret society admitting men and their wives, and governing social life. This organization was subdivided into initiatory stages, the highest being the Kindi.
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 top of hills. The role of the leader, kindi , is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest in rank. As in other forest tribes, men hunt and clear while women cultivate cassava. Social recognition and authority also had to be earned individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and irreproachable behavior.
Source: "Art of the Lega" E.L.Cameron
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