Lega Mask Lukwakongo Bwami Society African
Additional Information: This Lega mask shows traces of long use and much handling.It would be a good addition to a collection.
Lega masks such as this are known as Lukwakongo, and are a relatively standardized size. The complex system of instruction, initiation, and advancement for both men and women in the Bwami society uses masks and figures to document the various levels of Bwami and to serve as badges validating the initiate’s knowledge of the secrets of Bwami and of their rank. Through time Bwami initiates earn the privilege to wear and display masks that might be worn on their arms or faces or simply exposed on racks or on the ground indicating their rank before other Bwami society members. For the Lega the ultimate goal is to reach the uppermost level of Bwami where one would be recognized as a Kindi, a leader and also a moral and social authority to be honored with the right to wear or carry certain masks.
For close related examples see Biebuyck, D. "Lega Culture: Art, Initiation, and Moral Philosophy among a Central African People." 1973; Cameron Elizabeth, Art of the Lega, UCLA, 2001
I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.