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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Jewelry : Lega Ivory Pendant in the Form of a Mask
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Lega Ivory Pendant in the Form of a Mask - PF.4937
Origin: Southeastern Congo
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 7" (17.8cm) high x 3.5" (8.9cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Ivory

Location: United States
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It is possible this lovely mask was made as an insignia intended to be worn by a member of an initiation society. The facial features are characteristic of Lega art; with its oval face, long nose, delicate lips and eyes shaped like cowrie shells. A series of "dots" starting at the lips and ending in a point on the bridge of the nose creates another heart shape. The stylization borders on abstraction in a way familiar from works by Picasso and Brancusi. However, the Lega artist was not interested in making a statement of artistic innovation, but rather to convey aspects of moral strength, integrity and wisdom associated with those who have reached a high level of society. The pride the owner had for it is attested by the rich brown patina attained by constant rubbing with oil. This mask's power makes it seem much larger than it is; larger than life, imbued with a mystery only fine art can produce. - (PF.4937)


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