Lot: 295

Anthropomorphic mask "idimu"

D. R. Congo, Lega

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Berndt Helleberg, Stockholm, Sweden H: 9.1 inch 10000 EUR / 20000 EUR

wood (alstonia), kaolin, plant fibre, base Lega masks fall into the category of "bwami" initiation objects. The Lega further divide them into five types according to material, size, and form: "lukwakongo", "kayamba", "idimu", "muminia" und "lukungu". The masks serve as an important mark of rank, identifying the owners as members of specific "bwami" levels. "Idimu" masks are owned collectively and are kept by an appropriate member of "yananio" or "kindi". "Idimu" were used in various different rites, either alone or in combination with "muminia" or "lukwakongo" masks. During an important ritual ceremony, they were attached to small wooden racks "pala". Around them are hung the small "lukwakongo" masks, which belong to individual owners and together embody the community of the "bwami" society. All masks of the Lega are used as didactic supports during the dances, songs and narrated proverbs that transmit the Lega code of ideal conduct to the new initiates.


Cameron, Elisabeth L., Art of the Lega, Los Angeles 2001, p. 178 ff.