Lega Mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo
height 10 3/4in (30cm)
lukwakongo, of oval form with pierced, projecting almond-shaped eyes beneath the large domed forehead leading to an ambitious crooked nose above a prominent open mouth and protruding chin; fine, heavily adzed surface with traces of white kaolin and red pigment.
Pierre Dartevelle, Brussels
Tribal Art, Autumn 2006, page 132-134 by Anne Leurquin.
Leurquin comments, "An entirely personal relationship is established between us and this object. It seduces us and we recognize the source of that seduction as being the same that we find in Picasso's early sculptures, which we consider formally closer to us.
Certainly, the quality of the mask's carving is not in keeping with the ideal of the masterpiece that is so central nowadays in museums, books, and exhibitions. But the notion of the masterpiece is ambiguous and it is useful to consider the evolution of the terms since the Middle Ages, when 'masterpiece' was used to refer to the work of an apprentice that marked his accession to the rank of master in his profession. In the nineteenth century, art history adopted the word to designate works that marked a certain period and summarized a stylistic movement or historical period. Here the concept of masterpiece varies as a function of time and cultural setting."