Lega Kwame mask, DRC ex Zaire Mask used by... - Lot 188 - Arthema Auction

Lot 188
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Estimation :
250 - 350 EUR
Lega Kwame mask, DRC ex Zaire Mask used by... - Lot 188 - Arthema Auction
Lega Kwame mask, DRC ex Zaire Mask used by the Kwame , Kweme , Lega sub-group living in North Kivu province, with similar societies and rites. Featuring asymmetrical eyes, it also has a mouth with swollen contours, perforated ears and stippled decoration. The double border around the face is very unusual. It indicated the stage reached within the Bwami, an apprenticeship society composed of different ranks, and joined by wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu. Beautiful golden-brown shaded patina. Residual kaolin inlay. 28 x 19 cm H. on base: 42 cm 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, collectively-owned Idumu masks were presented to initiates on a fence, surrounded by smaller individual 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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