An Lega Mask from Congo DRC. with a very sensitive expression.
Provenance: Gaëtan Schoonbroodt, Verviers.
Wood with multi-layered patina. medium brown honey patina, shiny in parts, Remains of offerings, kaolin powder around the eyes, Medium hard wood, holes around the rim ( to hold a missing raffia beard), layered brown patina on the inside.
Estimated age: Early to mid- 20th Century
22 cm 27 cm on the metal stand included.
Covered in Pembe a white clay, each time the mask is used, resulting in a beautiful, thick patina.
Lega masks, named Lukwakongo, have a standard design, but there are unique masks with symbolic and ritual meaning, those mask made for special occasions where not used to dance.
The life of the Lega (Warega) is regulated through the Bwami, to which both men and women belong. There are seven levels for men and four levels for women. Masks were used for initiation to the first two levels of the Bwami society and repainted with Pembe each time they were used or displayed on horizontal stands ( see b/w illustration) .