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Lega Mask from Congo

SKU: AFTAM138 Categories: , Tag:

£460.00

Out of stock

About this piece

This work is characteristic of the traditional African masks of the Lega. Sculpted in a flat volume with visible facial features which indicated the level the owner had reached within the Bwami. A learning society composed of different ranks, joined by the wives whose spouse had reached the third level, the Ngandu.

Light patina, crusty residue from Kaolin.

In the Lega, the Bwami society composed of men and women had seven levels of initiation each associated with an emblem. In the seventeenth century following their exodus from Uganda, the Lega settled on the West Bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC, also known as Warega. They lived in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades mainly on hilltops. The role of chief Kindi is held by the oldest man of the clan and must be pet of the highest ranking. In forest tribes’ men hunt and clear the land while women cultivate cassava. Social recognition and authority had to be earned individually. The chief was selected based on his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and impeccable behavior. During ritual ceremonies Idumu masks were presented to the initiated placed on a fence and surrounded by smaller masks. This mask is used during the initiation rites of the Bwami society. The society is open to both men and women and the pasage of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain wisdom and individual morality.

Item details

Dimensions 16 × 47 cm
Provenance

Ex Belgium private Collection

Estimated Date

Mid 20th Century

Country

Congo

Material

Wood

Stand

Included

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