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African art - Lega:

Among the Lega, the Bwami society, open to men and women, organised social and political life. There were up to seven levels of initiation, each associated with emblems. Following their exodus from Uganda in the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, they 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.


Masque League
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque League


Simplicity and sobriety combine for Lega masks. This copy is no exception to the rules, with its protruding eyelids housed in arches in the heart. This object indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning company composed of different ranks, and which were joined by the wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Surface with matte patina, kaolin residue, haloes. Fragment of raffia beard. 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 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also called Warega, these individuals live in ...


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Lega initiation statuette
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega Statues

The African art of the Lega , Balega, or Warega , is distinguished by its introductory statuettes, also made of ivory, some of which were kept in a basket intended for the highest rank of bwami of different Communities. This type of statuette of tribal art Iginga ( Maginga plural), was the property of the high-ranking officers of the Bwami , a secret society admitting men and their wives, and governing social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the highest being the Kindi.Following their exodus from Uganda in 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 ...


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Lega introductory male statuette
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League Statues

Ex-French African art collection.
Camped on massive and crenellated lower limbs, this figure, among the great diversity of Bwami's initiation objects, illustrates a proverb or saying that the aspirant to the higher rank of Bwami society will have to decipher. She is distinguished by her geometric close-up eyes in a small ovoid head on which her hands are placed. Oiled surface, smooth, some asperities and cracks.
African art of Lega, Balega, or Warega, is distinguished by its introductory statuettes, also made of ivory, some of which were kept in a basket for the highest bwami officers of different communities. This type of statuette of tribal art Iginga ( Maginga plural), was the property of the high-ranking officers of the Bwami , a secret society admitting men and their ...

Blind Lega Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque League

Large, blind concave orbits distinguish this African mask from the Lega, the latter being supposed to determine the stage of the Bwami to which its holder has reached. No superfluous detail enhances this morphology in which only the mouth placed at the end of the chin is evoked by a fine incision. A raffia beard (35 cm), very dense, embellishes the room, recalling the power and wisdom of the ancients. Unlike most masked traditions of African art, Lega women can also handle and wear masks, but the man remains the holder. According to Biebuyck, the blind mask is attached to a proverb about the vision of the heart, preferable to the perception of the visible. According to S.Diakonoff, however, this was a threat to reveal the secret of Bwami's insiders.
Desication crack.
Within ...


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Masque Lega Lukwakongo
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masquette Lega

Among the African Lega masks Lukwagengo, this small African mask, accessorized with a long raffia-fibre beard, was worn not on the face but on the back of the head, hung on the shoulders, attached to a bamboo support or worn by hand during dances
It is one of the insignia of the penultimate rank of the Bwami initiates who surround a mother mask named idumu .
Mask alone: 15 cm.
Within the Léga, the society of Bwami 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 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 ...


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Masque Lega Lukwakongo
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque Lega

Lega primitive sculptures in African art.
This mask, which was not intended to be worn, but manipulated during rituals, displays an oblong face in which the eye sockets are hollowed out in the heart. The coffee bean eyes, the nostrils, are hollowed out, the mouth absent. Smooth satin patina, the center of which is smeared with a crust of chipped kaolin. This African Lega mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and which were joined by wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Within the Lega, the society of Bwami 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 ...


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Masque League Idumu
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque League

Ex Swiss African art collection.

Slin eyes, a narrow nose marked with scarifications, under which are pierced nostrils, a small incised mouth housed in the space of the chin , make up the sober appearance of this African mask lega idumu. This object indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning company composed of different ranks, and which were joined by the wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Wood eroded with matte patina, kaolin residue. Break on the outline. 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 17th century, the Lega settled on the west ...


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Masque League janiiforme Idumu
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque League

Two concave faces, in which mica particles shine, are joined together and reveal hollowed-out eyes that separate the straight nasal ridge. These kaolin bleached faces, highlighted by parallel hatches, have narrow mouths marked by an incision. This tribal mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and which were joined by wives whose spousehad reached the third level, that of the ngandu . 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 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also called Warega, these individuals ...

Masque League Kayamba
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque League

Narrow pierced eyes, a thin, straight nasal ridge, a small rectangular mouth, with an incised lower lip reminiscent of teeth, and especially the presence of horns, make up the characteristics of this African Kayamba lega mask. This sculpture indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and which were joined by the wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Satin and chipped skate mixed with kaolin. Long raffia beard. 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 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River ...


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Lega introductory statuette
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League Statues

The African art of the Lega , Balega, or Warega , is distinguished by its introductory statuettes, also made of ivory, some of which were kept in a basket intended for the highest rank of bwami of different Communities. This type of statuette of tribal art Iginga ( Maginga plural), was the property of the high-ranking officers of the Bwami , a secret society admitting men and their wives, and governing social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the highest being the Kindi.Following their exodus from Uganda in 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 ...


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Statues League Sakimatwematwe
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The African lega art and the ritual initiation materials
African Statue Sakimatwematwe (Multi-heads) belonging to an initiate of the Bwami, this object is part of the objects " Masengo " of the Bwami (" things (among the many others used in the course of initiations). Its structure is presented in a cylindrical central form supported by four notched legs whose flexing would be associated with one of the positions of tribal dance. Four groups of three faces overlap, directed towards the four cardinal points. Grainy matte skate. Desication cracks.
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 these metaphors, the latter ...

Sculpture Lega Sakimatwematwe
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega Statues

The symbolism of African lega art
African Post Sakimatwematwe (Multi-heads) belonging to an insider of the Bwami, this object is part of the objects " Masengo " of the Bwami ("powerful things") among the many others used over the course of the initiations. Its structure is presented in a cylindrical form supported by four feet whose flexing recalls one of the positions of tribal dance. Four groups of four faces, directed towards the four cardinal points, are superimposed on the trunk which ends in a bouquet of plant fibers.
Two-foot restorations. Mate patina with crusty residue.
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 ...

Masque League Iduma
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Idumu Mask

This broad mask with rounded contours, with a thick raffia beard, is pierced with large holes on either side of a nasal ridge continuing to the forehead. The whitewashed mouth reveals rows of teeth regularly engraved. This African Lega mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and which were joined by wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Xylophage prints, now eradicated. Dark brown patina, localized lightening. Slight shrapnel in the teeth.
. Within the Lega, the society of Bwami 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 17th century, the ...


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Lega initiation statuette
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League figurines

The African art of the Lega , Balega, or Warega , is distinguished by its initiation statuettes, also made of ivory, some of which were kept in a basket intended for the highest rank of bwami of different Communities. This type of statuette of tribal art Iginga ( Maginga plural), was the property of the high-ranking officers of the Bwami , a secret society admitting men and their wives, and governing social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the highest being the Kindi.Following their exodus from Uganda in 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 ...


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Iginga League Statues
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League Statues

Ex-French tribal art collection.
Statuettes and moral codes in the African art of Lega
This Lega statuette, whose morphology evokes that of an elderly woman, belonged to an insider of the Bwami and was part of a set used during the initiations. It offers a semi-flexed position, camped on wide feet, the angle of the knees echoing the prominence of the bust, conical, and those of the arms. The flat face is topped with heart-hearted eyebrow edges under which globular eyelids are inscribed. The ensemble is regularly punctuated with circular patterns with a locally gilded beige patina.
The teacher guided the aspiring lega 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 ...


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Bwami Lega Kasangala introductory statuette
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League figurines

Ex-Belgian tribal art collection.
African art of Lega, Balega, or Warega, is distinguished by its introductory statuettes, also made of ivory, some of which were kept in a basket for the highest bwami officers of different communities. This type of statuette of tribal art Iginga ( Maginga plural), was the property of the high-ranking officers of the Bwami , a secret society admitting men and their wives, and governing social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the highest being the Kindi. The statuettes were used as the aspirants were inited. Each has a particular form and meaning from which morals or dogma always flow. Thus the figures with arms raised above the head would evoke the one who settled a dispute through his arbitration. The thick legs with ...

Statuette Lega Nkumba or Mulima
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League Statues

Ex-Italian African art collection.
African tribal statuette janiform without arms and endowed with a single foot in "z", belonging to an insider of the Bwami, among the many others used during the initiations. According to Elisabeth L.Cameron, these zigzag effigies are linked to the high-ranking women of Bwami whose phallic-shaped headgear is also named nkumba . When the figure is carried upside down, it is then called mulima (bat). 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 these metaphors, the latter referring largely to proverbs and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected, had to submit ...


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Lega Statuette
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega Statuette

Ex-belgian African art collection.
Identifiable by its context of use, this male statue belonged to an insider of the Bwami and was part of a set used during the initiations. She could only be seen at that time. The teacher guided the aspirant to a place where 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 referring to largely to proverbs and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected, had to submit to expensive 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 included at least seven ...


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