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Lega Figural Post with Janus Faces Bwami Society Congo African Art

$250.00
Product #: 126423
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Title Lega Figural Post with Janus Faces Bwami Society Congo African Art
Type of Object Figure, Carving, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Congo
People Lega
Materials Wood, pigment, clay
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 17 Inches
Width: 5.5 Inches
Overall Condition Poor
Damage/Repair Arrested bug damage, cracks, chips and a very worn patina


Additional Information: Lega sculptures are usually carved in a highly distinctive style, with a heart-shaped concave face with a slightly bulging forehead, slit ‘coffee-bean’ or tubular eyes, a nose with a beak-like base, and an open mouth showing teeth. Figures may be covered completely in white clay  or simply as on this face as on this figure. Here the faces are  highlighted through the use of white pigment    Such figures were used during the initiation of Bwami society  members, along with other figures and masks.  


Among the Lega people of the Democratic Republic of Congo carved wooden figures are used during ceremonies of the Bwami Society, an initiation, and instructional society that governs and advises on moral and ethical conduct. 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. Without knowing the exact circumstance and owner of a figure by Lega men or women it is difficult to determine their specific name or use as individuals will commission a sculpture for particular rituals or as badges of specific office or level attained in the Bwami society.