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Tribal art > Antique Ivories, African ivory statuette > Lega ivory

Lega figure in ivory (N° 20327)

Among the variety of objects held by the Lega initiates of the Bwami Association, this rare ivory sculpture depicts a couple standing back to back on a Bwami stool. The object, while illustrating a notion of equality between the sexes, could refer to the primordial couple. Amber oiled patina. Partially chipped at the top.

The Bwami governed the lega social structure, open to circumcised adults and their wives and instructed their adherents in terms of moral perfection.  These objects are part of the masengo, meaning that they are sacred and therefore can only be worn by the initiated. The owner cannot part with them during his or her lifetime. Bwami has different degrees, with 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.  

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This item is sold with its certificate of authenticity

Estimated shipping cost

OriginEx. collection Mercier
Countryrdc ex zaire
Weight0.25 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°
Socle includedYes

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