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Figure for the Bwami Association (Kakulu Kamwenne Kumasengo [?])

This figure served as an insignia of rank for a man who had reached the highest level in the Bwami association, an organization that provides political and social structure and stability for a Lega community. Such figures remind members of proverbs and axioms related to living moral, exemplary lives; here, the figure's name, “great old one,” and its bent posture call to mind the importance of taking care of older association members.

Lega peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Figure for the Bwami Association (Kakulu Kamwenne Kumasengo [?])
First half of the 20th century
Wood, shells, wax or resin
H. 11 ½ in. (29.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.31