Statuettes and moral codes in the African art of the Lega.
This Lega statuette, in the form of a conical-shaped neck surmounted by a double face, belonged to an initiate of the Bwami and was part of a set used throughout the initiations.
The teacher guided the lega aspirant to a place where African lega 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 these objects, true metaphors referring largely to proverbs and sayings.
Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected from it, had to undergo costly 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 involved 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.
Brown satin patina.
Within the Lega, the Bwami society, open to men and women, organized social and political life. There were up to seven levels of initiation, each associated with emblems.
Following their exodus from Uganda in the seventeenth century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, these people live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on hilltops. Social recognition and authority had to be earned individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and impeccable behavior.
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