Lukungu Lega Mask for Bwami


A small bone mask displaying angular, simple features that convey power. The top of the mask is carved to resemble a pair of short horns, the face is represented by drilled holes for the eyes and mouth, and an engraved inverted triangle for the nose. To the edge are a series of holes for the attachment of a seperate raffia beard. Mounted on a custom made stand.

Small masks such as this are created for use by the Lega in the semi-secret Bwami society that oversees the initiation of men and women during certain life stages, most notably puberty and circumcision. The masks are made from wood, bone or ivory and are not meant to be worn on the face in the conventional sense of a mask. Instead they are carried or displayed on special racks during the ceremonies to convey certain secrets that are translated to the initiates. The masks represent ancestors who are highly revered in Lega society, and for the Lega physical beauty and moral excellence are inseparable.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
Circa 1950
8 x 4,5 cm
Ethnic group
Lega / Balega / Warega
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Tribal art collection Belgium

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