Lot n° 88
250 - 350
Lega statuette, RCI
Identifiable from its... - Lot 88 - Arthema Auction
Lega statuette, RCI
Identifiable from its context of use, this male statue belonged to aBwami initiate and was part of a set used during initiations.
Carved from light wood, it features the famous heart-shaped face of Lega masks.
It features triangular and parallel scarification marks, and its headdress is reminiscent of one worn by Bwami aspirants.
50 x 20 cm
It could only be seen at this moment. The teacher would guide the aspirant to a place where masks and statuettes were displayed, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these objects, veritable metaphors largely referring to proverbs and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected from it, had to undergo costly ceremonies, and sometimes even join the lower rank of the Bwami, the kongabulumbu, at great expense to the families. Each of these initiations took place over seven days and involved at least seven performances. Objects "won" individually were then kept in a woven bag slung over the shoulder, while those won collectively were kept in a basket (Art of the Lega, E.L.Cameron).
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 most senior. 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.The base can be painted black as desired.
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