The Art of the Lega

2001
Image of Work: 

Publisher: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History

Abstract: 

Drawing upon diverse sources, including Daniel P. Biebuyck's seminal fieldwork of the 1950s, Elisabeth Cameron investigates the culture and the art of the Lega peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Among the Lega, art is only created for and used by the Bwami Society. Bwami is a complex organization consisting of multiple levels, and it forms an essential component of the political, social, and religious structure of the Lega. Within Bwami, artworks are used in conjunction with proverbs, anecdotes, and performances to form complex layered metaphors and to serve as mnemonic devices. As initiates move up through the ranks of the Bwami Society, they are exposed to a variety of different artworks that assist them in recalling a vast corpus of complex aphorisms. The many beautiful examples of Lega artworks illustrated in this volume are drawn primarily from the Jay T. Last collection and include masks, animals, human forms, miniature tools, and spoons.

9 x 12 inches, 236 pages
396 color and 14 b/w illustrations, 1 map, 1 chart
2001