Muminia Lega mask


This African mask belongs to the category of Muminia, rarely met and very little represented in the collections of African art. There are other types of masks: lukwakongo, idimu, ...
These traditional masks are used by the Lega during the initiations leading to the second grade of the highest bwami of the lutumbo lwa yananio ranks. The guardian of this mask was an initiate of the highest level of the second highest grade of the Bwami. He belonged to the Banamusiga groups, a lineage group incorporated in the Beiankuku. This mask was an object of "collective ownership" as the only one of its kind in a large ritual community, comprising eight ritually related clans. This mask has been transmitted over several generations by narrow, direct and agnatic descent.
This mask is also the expression of a historical privilege and a powerful symbol of social cohesion (since it must have been present during the initiations of the eight related ritual communities).
Most of the time, it was worn, not necessarily in front of the face, but on the temple or the top of the head, sometimes simultaneously with other masks and this, in very varied contexts; it was sometimes exposed on a fence, 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 moral and philosophical lega code.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
Circa 1950
21 x 15 cm
Ethnic group
Lega / Balega / Warega
Wood, raphia
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Tribal art collection Belgium

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