g9l8m167.jpg (61439 bytes)Lega (Balega, Rega, Walega, Warega), Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ceremonial mask. The 100,000 Lega inhabit the forest region in eastern DRC. They do not possess a centralized political organization, and both men and women aspire to moral authority by gaining high rank in the bwami initiation association. The highest ranking members of the bwami association own, use and interpret all Lega sculpture. Many categories of objects, including masks are used in connection with the association’s activities. Wooden masks with heart-shaped, concave faces painted with white pigment are owned, in some areas, by every male member of the most advanced level of the second highest grade of the bwami association. These masks are not worn over the face. Participants in most rites display their masks as a group in conjunction with particular dance movements and aphorisms, which vary depending on the context in which they are used. In some rites they may be held in the hand, in others they may be fixed to hats or arranged on a miniature palisade.

Material: wood

Size:   H. 9”, W. 7”, D. 2”

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