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Female/Male Figure

Female/Male Figure

c. 1930s

Ivory

Overall: 17.8 cm (7 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1977.192

Description

The Bwami Society of the Lega people use a large repertoire of wood and ivory figurines as part of its complex and rigorous initiation system. The ultimate goal, achieved through a series of tests, is the attainment of harmonious human relations through virtuous living, wisdom, and busoga---"goodness-beauty," Art is essential to this goal, for initiates must master an extensive body of knowledge as they study, exchange, display, and interpret their meanings, which vary according to the grade level of the initiates. The highest level in the Bwami Society, the Kindi rank, uses such figurines extensively. This bi-sexual figure may refer to the indissoluble bond between the Kindi member and his initiated wife (Kawanya).

See also
Collection: 
African Art
Department: 
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Ivory

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