Standing figure

Lega peoples
19th–20th century
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General Description

Bwami ritual objects include figures and miniature nonfunctional tools carved out of ivory, bone, and wood. Such objects have specific names and meanings, which without field documentation cannot always be identified with confidence. While the meaning of the human figure is uncertain, the image of a billhook knife (1969.S.92) is known. It refers to a proverb: “He who has not many [people] cannot clear the tangle of lianas.” It expresses mugusu, a key Bwami concept about diligence and cooperation among many people as necessary for success in Bwami and in life in general.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.

Web Resources