Lega Bwami Idimu Miniature Mask, Congo #45

$ 1,425.00 $ 2,850.00
Shipping calculated at checkout.
  • Lega Bwami Idimu Miniature Mask, Congo #45
  • Powerful mask possibly represents an Old Man or an Ill Person.
  • Idimu masks are significantly larger than Lukwakongo Masks, but stylistically very close. 
  • Material: Wood, Kaolin Clay, Fiber Beard
  • Dimensions: Approx. 8 1/2 inches high (excluding raffia attachments)
  • Small/ Miniature Lega Masks are called Lukwakongo, and were worn on the arm, carried in the hand, attached to a hat, or grouped with similar Masks in an array. The Lukwakongo are never worn on the face, but they are rather attached to the arm or exhibited on a fence, during the Bwami Society/ Association meetings.
  • Usually, these Miniature Masks, known under the name of Lukwakongo, have a heart-shaped face, framed by a line formed by the nose, the eyebrows, and the cheeks. The face is whitened with Kaolin Clay, whereas the forehead and the borders have a typical brown patina. The holes all along the lower border of this African mask originally held a beard made of liana fibers.
  • The complex system of Instruction, Initiation, and Advancement for both Men and Women in the Bwami Society uses Masks and Figures to document the various levels of Bwami, and to serve as Badges validating the Initiate's knowledge of the Secrets of Bwami and of their Rank. Through time, Bwami Initiates earn the privilege to wear and display Masks that might be worn on their arms or faces, or simply exposed on racks or on the ground indicating their Rank before other Bwami Society Members. For the Lega, the ultimate goal is to reach the uppermost level of Bwami where one would be recognized as a Kindi, a Leader, and also a Moral and Social Authority to be honored with the right to wear or carry certain masks. The Bwami Association organized the Social Structure and ensured the Stability of the Lega Community.
  • The Lega are a Bantu forest people of Central Africa, established mainly in the east of the Congo DRC, east of the Lwalaba River (the Congo River), up to the altitude in the Mitumba Mountains, in the provinces of South Kivu and Maniema.
  • - References: Cameron, Elisabeth L. Art of the Lega. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum at UCLA, 2001. Biebuyck, Daniel P. Lega: Ethics and Beauty in the Heart of Africa. Brussels: Snoeck-Ducaju & Zoon, 2002.