Most of Lega masks are sculptures of a human face that are rarely worn over the face and never for purposes of true transformation. The Lega masks can be assigned different uses and meanings depending on the context of the performance. In Bwami ceremonies, masks are attached to different parts of the body, fixed to hat, piled in stacks, hung on fences, held in the hand, dragged on the ground, and occasionally worn on the forehead with the beard draping over the face of the wearer or arranged on a miniature palisade. Participants in most rites display their masks as a group in conjunction with particular dance movements and aphorisms, which vary depending on the context in which they are used. Lega masks differ from those used in many other African masquerades in that while women do not own them, both men and women handle and present them in very similar performances. Masks are among the initiation objects displayed on the grave before being passed to new owners. They are usually passed from an uncle to a nephew. Idumu masks are unusual because they belong to a group of people rather than one individual. During a major performance an idumu mask is hung on a fence among other smaller lukwakongo masks (these are owned by specific persons).
Learn more at http://www.zyama.com/lega/index.htm
Provenance: Raskin Private Collection