Lega Lukwakongo Mask
Democratic republic of Congo
Wood, pigment, raffia.
11 inches tall (27.9 cm) – mask only
Early – Mid 20th Century.
Jean-Pierre Hallet (1927 -2004)
No known exhibitions
No known publications
Fully attended with verifyable provenance documents from the John Pierre Hallet estate.
Lega masks are not exactly notorious for their aesthetics. Rather, typical Lega masks are heart-shaped, slightly concave, minimalistic sculptures, unlike this rare and most unusually aesthetically magnificent Lega mask. From the reserve trove of the renowned John Pierre Hallet, this mask is one of the reserve holdouts by his daughter.
Lega masks are used as initiation objects in the Bwami secret society. John Pierre Hallet is the only foreigner to be known to have been initiated by the Lega into the Bwami society. Masks into five types according to material, size, and form. These masks serve as important social identifiers of of rank, recognizing wearers as initiated members of specific Bwami society echelons.
Lega masks, in contrast to typical masks from other African cultures, are handheld, appended to the body, or displayed on fence posts during the initiation ceremonies of the Bwami society, instead of worn over the face.