In African art, this male statuette of the Lega, whose limbs have no extremities, and whose triangular face with a raised chin, was intended for an insider of the Bwami. It was part of a set used throughout the initiations. The teacher guided the aspiring lega to a place where African lega masks and statuettes were exhibited, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these objects, real metaphors largely referring to proverbs and sayings. Glossy black patina, erosions and desication cracks.
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 during the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. The role of chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. 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.
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