G0L0S089.jpg (25595 bytes)G0L9S089S.jpg (21291 bytes)Lega (Balega, Rega, Walega, Warega), Democratic Republic of the Congo

Initiation Figure.  The 100,000 Lega live in the virgin forest of Eastern part of the country, near Lake Kivu.  All Lega art is based upon the bwami association whose hierarchy is open to both men and women. Bwami association maintains ethical principles and establishes social norms. The political society has a hierarchy of ranks, each one distinguished from the others by art objects, including statuettes. The diverse, rigidly articulated arts of the Lega are related to the initiation rites. The great ceremonies organized for the accession to the highest level would require that entire villages be constructed to house the clan of the candidate and members of the other clans who often come from very far away to participate in the festivities. The objects are frequently moved around in various containers and grouped in large number for ceremonial display. This need for portability is the reason why there are no large Lega artifacts. Such statues usually belong to the elevated bwami rank. The body is always interpreted in a symbolic and abstract way.

Material:  wood

Size:   H. 15”, W. 5”, D. 4”