Kayamba Lega Mask | Bwami Society | DR Congo | 19th century 28cm


  1. Sotheby’s, Bonham, and Christie’s: Check their past auction catalogs, which are often available online. Many of these houses allow you to search through past sales using keywords or categories. By entering terms like “Lega Mask” or “IDMU Lega Mask,” you can retrieve past auction results.
  2. Barakat: Investigate their past exhibitions and sales related to African tribal art. Given their expertise in ancient art, they might have comprehensive records or publications that could offer further insights.
  3. Artkhade.com: Utilize their platform to research past auction results, ensuring you filter for ‘African Art’ or specifically ‘Lega Masks.’ This will provide a clearer valuation range for masks of similar quality and provenance.
  4. Books: Refer to “AFRICAN ART Sculpture” by Pierre Meauzé and “Africa: The art of a continent” for a deeper understanding of the significance, artistry, and valuation of similar Lega masks.



Hailing from the lush forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this mesmerizing IDMU Lega Mask extends to a size of 25.4 cm, encapsulating the essence of the Bwami society of the Lega peoples. Crafted with precision, the mask’s face is adorned with contrasting black and white pigment, enhanced by delicately incised scarifications. A beautifully pierced border surrounds the face, with a finely aged patina testifying to its historical significance.

Bwami society, a semisecret association in DR Congo, plays a pivotal role in guiding the moral compass of individuals, governing their interactions within the community. Representing Bwami’s doctrine are carved objects like this mask, imbued with profound meanings illustrated through proverbs, dances, and skits. These masks symbolize ancestral connections, passed down generations to maintain continuity. The Lega’s perception of beauty isn’t skin deep; it binds aesthetic allure with moral integrity. Dotted-circle motifs, reminiscent of body markings, magnify the mask’s appeal and its representation. Its polished, gleaming surface signifies the refined character of a Bwami initiate.

Potential buyers are encouraged to peruse the accompanying photographs with discernment; this mask is not a mid-20th-century tourist replica. This artifact holds a position of esteem, resonating with the calibre that prestigious houses such as Sotheby’s, Bonham, Christie’s, and Barakat regularly showcase. Artkhade.com, along with the writings of Pierre Meauzé in “AFRICAN ART Sculpture” and “Africa: The art of a continent”, echo the unparalleled beauty and significance of such Lega masks. With provenance tracing back to a UK private collection, Lega masks of such stature often command prices ranging from £3,000 to £30,000.




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