By appointment only Atlanta, GA 30327 United States 305.400.0561
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$ 5,800

A Lega Bwami Society Mask With Provenance

Origin United States
Period 1920-1949
Materials wood
W. 6 in; H. 14 in; D. 5 in;
W. 15.24 cm; H. 35.56 cm; D. 12.7 cm;
Condition Fair. Tribal art, lots of patina and wear as shown. The new stand doens't fit perfectly as the holes drilled on the back of the mask are original and not leveled. The stand will be included.
Creation Date first half of 20th century
Description On offer is a Lega Bwami Society wooden mask from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was likely from the first half of the 20th century and an authentic in-field piece. The mask displays a nice patina on both the front and back sides, and the back shows marks of hand-tool carving and drilling.
Provenance: Collection of Merton D. Simpson (1928-2013) with an inventory number 8979 marked on the back. Merton D. Simpson is an American abstract expressionist painter and African and tribal art collector and dealer.
Bwami society masks are symbols of the owner's rank within the community and they represent moral or social values, and are used during initiation rites. Always associated with proverbs, dance, poetry and song, the secret knowledge is give wisdom to members of the society during initiation. The masks are rarely worn on the face, but are attached to different parts of the body, held in the hand, or worn over the forehead with the beard draping over the face.
Like most Lega masks, this particular piece of work is simple but elegant with a concave heart-shape face. The facial features are delicate, with a thin and long nose, and small opening of a mouth and eyes, shaped like cowrie shells. A nice patina is present on the surface. As each time the mask was used, white clay was rubbed on the front, as the mask aged, it left a white patina and some tiny specks of mineral embedded on the surface are still visible. The mask itself is 9.25 by 6 by 0.5. About 14 inches high with the stand.
Styles / Movements African, Traditional, Tribal
Incollect Reference Number 287724
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