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Tribal art > African mask > Masque LEGA

Bwami Lega Mask (N° 18240)

Lega primitive sculptures in African art. Huge eyeballs occupy three-quarters of the face of this mask, bringing together the nose at the raised tip, and the thin incision of the mouth in the lower part similar to a snout. Pure forms and inventiveness are the watchwords for this ancient and charming Lega mask. Locally abraded smooth patina.
This African Lega mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and which was joined by the wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Within the Lea, the society of the 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 known as Warega, these individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on the top of hills. The role of the leader, kindi, is held by the oldest man of the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, men hunt and clear while women grow cassava. Social recognition and authority also had to be won individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and impeccable behavior. During ritual ceremonies, Idumu masks, which were collectively owned, were presented to insiders placed on a fence and surrounded by individual masks of smaller size. This mask is used during the initiation rites of the Bwami society. It is open to men and women. The passage of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain individual wisdom and morality.  

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OriginColl. belge Pr. J. Putteneers
EthnyLega
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height28
Width20
Weight0.33 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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