Lega (Balega, Rega,
Ceremonial mask. All Lega art is used within the context of the bwami society, an organization that permeates every area of life. A philosophical society, bwami teaches principles of moral perfection through proverbs, dances, and the presentation of objects in special contexts. Initiations into various grades and levels of bwami are cohesive events that bind individuals, kinship groups, and generations. Bwami produces, displays, and explains thousands of pieces of sculpture, including anthropomorphic and zoomorphic carvings, masks, caps, spoons, miniature implements, as well as abstract objects. Only individuals of the two highest grades own arts and manipulate it. The 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.