Ritual Messengers

The Peoples of Central Africa

| The Lega | Lega Masks | Lega Ivories |

Kitende frog figure. Lega. Kivu, Zaïre. Ivory.
© Africa-Museum, Tervuren

  Lega Ivories

Iginga ivories are used during bwami initiation rituals; they are kept exclusively by initiates of the highest level of the society. Iginga sculptures are inherited from family members (close or distant). For a certain period, the iginga are placed on the deceased's tomb; during this time they become sacred, charged with an undefinable vital force that will be passed on to those who inherit them. They serve as reminders of virtuous individuals who followed the society's moral and philosophical beliefs, and as a link between generations. For the Lega the iginga are secret objects that are seen only in the context of initiation rituals.

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