IMPORTANT MASK, LEGA/IDIMU,
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
H. 32 cm
- René Vander Straete Collection, Lasne, 1970
- Maurice Bonnefoy, New York, 1988
- Hélene and Philippe Leloup, Paris
- Private American collection
- Daniel P. Biebuyck, La Sculpture des Lega, Paris, Galerie Hélène et Philippe Leloup, 1994, pp. 174 -176, n°67.
- Nancy Ingram Nooter and Warren M. Robbins, African Art in American Collections, Survey 1989, page 481.
- Washington, D.C. and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989, p. 481, no. 1235.
- Joseph Cornet, Arts de l'Afrique noire au pays du Fleuve Zaïre, Arcade, Brussels, 1972, plate 141, p. 264
At the heart of the Lega world, the Bwami association has its own initiation rites and ensures the cohesion and organisation of society. Its aims are educational and humanistic.
The large idimu masks are used during the initiation rites of the highest ranks of the bwami and are included in the collective material of these ranks. They can be worn by an officiant or hung, accompanied by small masks, on a barrier erected for the ceremony. It then represents the great initiate, creator of the rite.
This very important idimu mask, with a heart-shaped face divided by a long nose without nostrils, has a beautiful black, red and white polychrome surface that testifies to its age and its long cultic use. The perforations around the chin were used to attach a long beard of braided fibers. The interior is superb and consistent with its presumed great age.
Its western history and the numerous publications that have been devoted to it show the interest that it has been the object of and the importance that the various authors have been willing to confer on it.