Lot No. 105


Lega, Dem. Rep. of Congo: A small ‘identity-card’ mask made of ivory. For a top-ranking member (‘Kindi’) of the Bwami Society.


Lega, Dem. Rep. of Congo: A small ‘identity-card’ mask made of ivory. For a top-ranking member (‘Kindi’) of the Bwami Society. - Tribal Art

Among the Lega (also called Rega or Warega), in the east of the Congo, the Bwami Society steers the tribe’s religious and social life. There are six ranks for men and three ranks for women. During ceremonies, the men of the two highest ranking orders are allowed to wear the proper, big face masks. All other members of the Bwami Society are in possession only of smaller, plate-sized, ‘identity-card’ masks. These are ordinarily made of wood and named ‘Lukwakongo masks’. However, all objects made of ivory are the exclusive preserve of the Lega men of the highest ranking order — the ‘Kindi’. Thus the present small ‘identity-card’ ivory mask was once the ‘Lukwakongo mask’ of a highest ranking ‘Kindi’ member of the Bwami Society. It is oval, with the typical, heart-shaped, slightly concave and inwardly cupped Lega face. It has a dotted outline, characteristic coffee bean eyes with etched out lashes, a long, flat nose and a small angular mouth with teeth etched out on the upper and lower rim. The ivory itself is old, displaying on the back and front the typical brown to honey-coloured spots of natural age patina which speaks of a piece that has been long in use (with time, ivory turns dapple and dark on its own). A piece with a few tender age-related tears on the front and back. A slight loss to the upper rim at the back. H: 11.5 cm; W: 7 cm. First third of the 20th century. (ME) ASA

Provenance: Belgian Collection.

Lit.: ‘L’art des Lega. Secrets d'ivoire’, catalogue of the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, ill. 44.

Specialist: Erwin Melchardt Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at

02.11.2015 - 14:00

Realized price: **
EUR 2,000.-
Starting bid:
EUR 800.-

Lega, Dem. Rep. of Congo: A small ‘identity-card’ mask made of ivory. For a top-ranking member (‘Kindi’) of the Bwami Society.


Among the Lega (also called Rega or Warega), in the east of the Congo, the Bwami Society steers the tribe’s religious and social life. There are six ranks for men and three ranks for women. During ceremonies, the men of the two highest ranking orders are allowed to wear the proper, big face masks. All other members of the Bwami Society are in possession only of smaller, plate-sized, ‘identity-card’ masks. These are ordinarily made of wood and named ‘Lukwakongo masks’. However, all objects made of ivory are the exclusive preserve of the Lega men of the highest ranking order — the ‘Kindi’. Thus the present small ‘identity-card’ ivory mask was once the ‘Lukwakongo mask’ of a highest ranking ‘Kindi’ member of the Bwami Society. It is oval, with the typical, heart-shaped, slightly concave and inwardly cupped Lega face. It has a dotted outline, characteristic coffee bean eyes with etched out lashes, a long, flat nose and a small angular mouth with teeth etched out on the upper and lower rim. The ivory itself is old, displaying on the back and front the typical brown to honey-coloured spots of natural age patina which speaks of a piece that has been long in use (with time, ivory turns dapple and dark on its own). A piece with a few tender age-related tears on the front and back. A slight loss to the upper rim at the back. H: 11.5 cm; W: 7 cm. First third of the 20th century. (ME) ASA

Provenance: Belgian Collection.

Lit.: ‘L’art des Lega. Secrets d'ivoire’, catalogue of the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, ill. 44.

Specialist: Erwin Melchardt Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at


Buyers hotline Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm
kundendienst@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 200
Auction: Tribal Art
Date: 02.11.2015 - 14:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 28.10. - 02.11.2015


** Purchase price incl. charges and taxes

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