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Lega Mask Bwami Society Congo African Art

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Title Lega Mask Bwami Society Congo African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Lega
Materials Wood, pigment, fibers, clay
Approximate Age 20th century
Height (in) 8
Width (in) 5
Depth (in) 3.5
Dimensions Height: 8 Inches
Width: 5 Inches
Depth: 3.5 Inches
Overall Condition Fair
Damage/Repair Chips on edges and nose, crack down center of face, worn patina and chin has been repaired.

Additional Information: The Lega people live near the northern end of Lake Tanganyika on the banks of the Lualaba River and are also known as the Warega. Living in small village groups they have no centralized authority but govern themselves through a communal association known as "Bwami." This association is composed of male and female members who strive to achieve advancement in the various ranks of Bwami. For the Lega the ultimate goal is to reach the uppermost level of "Bwami" when one would become a "Kindi," one who exercises moral influence within society. The complex system of instruction, initiation and advancement in Bwami 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. Initiates earn the privilege to wear and display masks which might be worn on their arms or faces or simply exposed on racks or on the ground.

Recommended Reading:

"ART OF AFRICA" by Kerchache et al. Biebuyck, D. "Lega Culture: Art, Initiation, and Moral Philosophy among a Central African People." 1973; ART OF THE LEGA, by Cameron, E., 2001