Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Lega Miniature Iginga Figure on Base Congo 10 inch

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $44.00 Regular Price $95.00
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Brand Unbranded
Type of Object Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Lega
Materials Wood
Approximate Age 20th Century
Height (in) 10.25
Width (in) 3
Depth (in) 3
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.
Damage/Repair Large cracks

A standing Lega figure with a stylized body. The surface shows some age. Lega sculptures are usually carved in a highly distinctive style, with heart-shaped concave faces, slightly bulging foreheads, slit ‘coffee-bean’ eyes, and an open narrow mouth.

Lega sculptures are usually carved in a highly distinctive style, with a heart-shaped concave face with a slightly bulging forehead, slit ‘coffee-bean’ eyes, and an open narrow mouth. Figures are many times covered completely in white clay called ‘pombe’ or simply as in this figure have the face highlighted through the use of coloring material.

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 their rank. This appealing white-faced figure with a marvelously abstracted body represents a major figure and perhaps a ‘judge’ among senior members of the Bwami Society. According to Cornet, "These figurines are often part of an initiation basket owned collectively by a clan and used in the ritual display of objects in the LUTUMBO LWA KINDI rite.

Among the various styles of African art, one that stands out is the Lega art, which originated from the Lega people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lega art is characterized by its highly stylized and abstract forms, which are often used in the creation of masks, statues, and other ritual objects. One of the most famous and distinctive features of Lega art is the use of a unique system of symbols known as Bwami. The Bwami society is a secret association of men and women that serves as a governing body for the Lega people. They use Bwami symbols to represent their beliefs, values, and social structures.

In Lega art, the use of Bwami symbols is highly prominent. The most common symbols used in Lega art include the ngulu, which represents the concept of leadership, and the lukwakongo, which is a symbol of the Lega community. Other symbols used in Lega art include the lukasa, a memory board that contains a visual record of important events in Lega history, and the kipona, a staff that is used by Bwami initiates.

Lega art is also known for its intricate and detailed carving techniques, which are used to create masks, statues, and other objects. These objects are often adorned with elaborate designs and patterns, which are used to convey specific meanings and messages. For example, some Lega masks are designed to represent specific animals, while others are used to portray spiritual or ancestral figures.

Overall, Lega art is a rich and diverse tradition that reflects the cultural heritage of the Lega people. It is an important part of the broader African art tradition and continues to inspire and captivate people around the world.