230921 - African twin mask from the Lega Bwami - Congo.


Congo: African twin mask from the Lega Bwami.

This type of mask is used in context of initiation.

Hand carved from a single piece of colorful painted wood.

Height: 34 cm.


By the 1970s Lega people were mostly living in the middle and upper Elila valley and the upper Ulindi River valley. These rivers both rise in the east of South Kivu and flow in a northwesterly direction through Maniema, joining the Lualaba downstream from Kindu. The upper Ulindi valley has a richly diverse fauna, including many monkey species, chimpanzees, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and antelopes. The valley is administratively divided into the Mwenga and Shabunda territories of South Kivu Province and the Pangi Territory of Maniema Province.


The territory is covered by deep rain forest and, in the east, rugged mountains rising to 6,000 feet (1,800 m) or more. The climate is hot and humid year round. The mountains hold areas of moist woodlands as well as montane forest and grasslands. To the north and west the forest is denser and deeper. The south of the region holds mosaics of forest savannah and woodlands. All of the forest has long been inhabited by humans, who have cleared land for cultivation, then let it return to the wild. In some places the forest has not grown back but has been replaced by grassland. The forest has many plants and trees that provide food and are used for other purposes, and has abundant wildlife.