G2L8M562S.jpg (37310 bytes)g2l8m562.jpg (48302 bytes)Lega (Balega, Rega, Walega, Warega), Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ceremonial mask. The Lega inhabit the forest region in eastern DRC, between the great lakes and the Lualaba River. The Lega are not organized under one centralized authority. Instead, individual communities are stratified in accordance with lineage hierarchies. The leader of the lineage inherits his position along patrilineal lines. 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, raffia

Size: 14”x7”x3”