RARE. Lega Mask | Bwami Society | DR Congo | 19th century


Potential buyers are urged to delve into the attached photographs and discern the mask’s authenticity. This is far from the tourist replicas fashioned in the mid-20th century. Those well-acquainted with esteemed auction houses like Sotheby’s, Bonham, Christie’s, and Barakat will recognize the caliber and significance of such a mask. Insights from Artkhade.com and the revered “AFRICAN ART Sculpture” by PIERRE MEAUZÉ emphasize the mask’s significance. The “Africa: The art of a continent” further corroborates its authenticity. Bearing a legacy from a private UK collection, Lega masks of this prestige frequently command prices ranging from £3,000 to £30,000.



Hailing from the rich cultural backdrop of the 19th century Democratic Republic of the Congo, this 33 cm Idimu Lega Mask stands as a rare relic of the Bwami society of the Lega peoples. Accentuated by its face painted with white pigment spots, incised scarifications, and intricate pierced borders, the mask embodies a deep-rooted heritage, evident in its fine aged patina.

Deep within the forests of DR Congo, art takes a form beyond mere aesthetic pleasure. It acts as a bridge, connecting generations of the Bwami society, a semi-secret association comprising both men and women. Bwami’s teachings are not just limited to these artworks; they seep into the very fabric of everyday life, shaping the moral compass of an individual and orchestrating relations within the community. Through such artifacts, one is able to get a glimpse of the reverence with which the Bwami society views its traditions, the lessons it imparts, and the standards it upholds.

For potential collectors and connoisseurs, this Idimu Lega Mask represents more than just an ornamental piece; it serves as a testament to a society’s age-old values and its unwavering dedication to passing them on. This mask is not merely an artifact; it’s a chapter from history, awaiting its next custodian.



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