Lega Muminia mask
This traditional African blackened wooden Lega mask, extremely rare in such antiquity, has deeply carved and whitewashed ovoid eye sockets with large almond-shaped open eyes, an almost rectangular open mouth and a long, thin bridge of the nose.
This example belongs to the category of masks called muminia used during initiations leading to the second grade of the highest bwami of the lutumbo lwa yananio rites.
The keeper of this mask was an initiate of the highest level of the second highest grade of the bwami; he belonged to the Banamusiga group, a lineage group incorporated into the Beiankuku.
This mask was an "object of collective property", as the only one of its kind in a large ritual community, comprising eight ritually linked clans.
In addition to being a collective symbol of the lutumbo lwa yananio grade, this tribal mask was also the expression of a historical privilege and a powerful symbol of social cohesion (since it had to be present during the initiations of the eight communities ritually linked).
Although it was mainly used during initiations to the yananio and kindi grades, it was also used during a rite linked to the lowest grade, the kongabu-lumbu grade.
Most of the time, it was worn, not necessarily in front of the face, but on the temple or at the top of the head, sometimes simultaneously with other masks and this, in very varied contexts; it was sometimes displayed on a barrier, in the middle of other smaller masks.
It does not represent an ancestor or a supernatural being, but transmits, in various theatrical contexts, values (good and bad) related to the interpretation of the Lega moral and philosophical code.
- Presumed dating
- Mid XXth century
- 22 cm (38 cm with support)
- Ethnic group
- Tribal art collection Belgium
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