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Tribal art > African mask > Maque Lega

Large Lega Mask (N° 17182)

A flat mask on which the forehead and nasal ridge form a pronounced relief, it indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different grades, and which was joined by the wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu. The dotted on its surface is encrusted with kaolin residue.
Hightop: 56 cm.

At the Lea, 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 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 were presented to insiders placed on a fence and surrounded by smaller masks.
Litt.: Art of the Lega E.L. Cameron.  

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Originex-collection Mercier
EthnyLega
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, raphia
Height cm30
Width17 cm
Weight0.25 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°
Socle includedYes

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