Lega Iginga mask, DRC ex-Zaire Shallow, stretched... - Lot 23 - Arthema Auction

Lot 23
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Estimation :
120 - 180 EUR
Lega Iginga mask, DRC ex-Zaire Shallow, stretched... - Lot 23 - Arthema Auction
Lega Iginga mask, DRC ex-Zaire Shallow, stretched surface with heart-shaped arches. The protruding eyelids form a hallucinatory gaze, and the gaping mouth an expression of stupor. This African Lega mask adopts recurring aesthetic criteria. However, it features checkerboard keloids, reminiscent of some of the traditional motifs used to scarify faces. Residual crusty white clay inlays. This African Lega mask indicated the stage the wearer had reached within the Bwami, an apprenticeship society composed of different ranks, joined by wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu. Abraded two-tone patina. 30 x 16 cm Sold without base Within the Lega, the Bwami society, open to both men and women, organized social and political life. There were up to seven levels of initiation, each associated with emblems. Following their exodus from Uganda in the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, these people live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on hilltops. The role of chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, the men hunt and clear the land, while the women cultivate cassava. Social recognition and authority also had to be earned individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence and irreproachable behavior. During ritual ceremonies, Idumu masks were presented to initiates placed on a barrier and surrounded by smaller masks. This mask is used in the initiation rites of the Bwami society. The society is open to both men and women. The passing of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain individual wisdom and morality.
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