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Old 23rd June 2023, 09:04 PM   #1
shayde78
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Default Lega Ivory Figure

So, on a whim, I placed a small bid on an object I thought was carved out of cow/bovine bone. I thought it looked Mesopotamian, but figured it was carved by a hobbyist in modern times.

We've all had moments when we didn't look closely enough at the photos and descriptions of an item and were had our expectations confounded when the item arrives. This is one such example.

It would seem I am now in possession of a hefty Lega figure carved out of ivory. This is no small trinket, and had deep meaning to its original owner.

I found a good resource describing these here https://www.randafricanart.com/Lega_ivory_figures.html

Per this site, "The iginga statues in ivory are the exclusive and individual property of the initiated association bwami ... In the
absence of information collected at the time of the collection with his owner, it unfortunately impossible to identify
his specific meaning and his name. Of more general manner, all initiated lutumbo lwa kindi possesses at least a
statue of this type, obtained at the time of his accession to this very high rank. According to Biebuyck (in Tervuren,
1995: 381), these statues most often were inherited of a deceased parent after having been displayed on his
grave. Each is associated with a specific aphorism. They "recall the virtues of the initiated past generations, they
maintain rules and moral, social, lawful and philosophical norms defended by their predecessors; they are the links
between the past generations and present [and constitute at last] sacra, sacred objects, fill vital force" (idem).
(Sotheby's 2005)"

I'm curious if anyone knows anything further about these figures. I never intended to collect one, but now that I have, I would love to know more.

Thanks everyone!
-Rob
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