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Africa
Lega peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Figure for the Bwami Association, Kakulu Kamwenne Kumasengo (?)
Wood, shells, wax or resin
H. 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 2010.31

This figure served as an insignia of rank for a man who had reached the highest level in the Bwami Association, an organization that provides political and social structure and stability for a Lega community. Such figures remind members of proverbs and axioms related to living moral, exemplary lives; here, the figure's name, “great old one,” and its bent posture call to mind the importance of taking care of older association members.