Lega Kakulu ka Mpito figure
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Lega human figure `Kakulu ka Mpito'
14.5" tall


I love the abstract form of these figures. When the originally acquired the figure there was animal fur attached to the head of this figure and also a
leather covering over the head. Over time the fur started to fall out and it was removed. I think the figures is in excellent style and I love it. This figure is
very similar to the first figure in my examples of these objects below my photos.

Kakulu ka Mpito is the unfortunate husband of Wayinda. The two figures are often paired during performances. (See information on Wayinda below)

"Kakulu ka Mpito was duped by the adulterous Waiyinda or by Mukobania, 'the divider,' who caused trouble by calling together people whom he did not
know well for a beer party. Though Kakulu ku Mpito is not personally responsible for ritual pollution or social discord, sculptures of this type are
nevertheless often executed either without arms or with arms severely reduced and undifferentiated from the torso. The lack of formal balance is
augmented by an extremely large head. Since Kakulu ka Mpito is a victim of antisocial beheavior, it could be argued that it expresses the negative
effects of, rather than the factors contributing to, discord in Lega society." (Source - Sotheby's November 1999, Lot 105)
Examples and information
below for reference purposes
Example from the Sotheby's "The Kuhn Collection of African Art"
November 1991 - Lot 105

waist; black patina with remains of white pigment. Height 12 1/2 in. (31.1 cm.)
waist; black patina with remains of white pigment. Height 12 1/2 in. (31.1 cm.)


Provenance: Marc L. Felix, Brussels

This figure is called the Kakulu ka Mpito or "old one." A similar example is illustrated in Cornet (1971, fig. 138) and in Klopper
(1985, fig. 10). According to the latter's research: "Kakulu ka Mpito was duped by the adulterous Waiyinda or by Mukobania, 'the
divider,' who caused trouble by calling together people whom he did not know well for a beer party. Though Kakulu ku Mpito is not
personally responsible for ritual pollution or social discord, sculptures of this type are nevertheless often executed either without
arms or with arms severely reduced and undifferentiated from the torso. The lack of formal balance is augmented by an extremely
large head. Since Kakulu ka Mpito is a victim of antisocial beheavior, it could be argued that it expresses the negative effects of,
rather than the factors contributing to, discord in Lega society."

Estimate $15,000-20,000 / Sold for $16,500
(This figure sold at Sotheby's was also in the book "The Tribal Arts of Africa", image below from the book.
Lega figure
12 1/4"
Private collection
From the book: The Tribal Arts of Africa
Sotheby's  November 1995 - Lot 38
Estimate $30,000 - 40,000, Sold for $28,750

A Lega Kahimka Mpitu Figure, standing on wedge-shaped feet in a striding posture with angular bent legs supporting a
bombastic torso with pendant phallus beneath a spherical head with tapering chin and flat heart-shaped facial plane including a
slit mouth and elongated triangular nose framed by raised coffee bean eyes, the face encircled by a band of reddish-brown
animal fur attached by thick resinous black material and wearing a brass bangle encircling the right ankle; fine dark brown
patina with encrusted kaolin on the face. Height 14 in. (35.6cm.)
Published:
Drewal, H. Shapes of the Mind
Shildkraut (ed.), Wild Spirits; Strong Medicine, 1989: illus 57.
Exhibition:
The Center for African Art, New York, 1989
Wild Spirits; Strong Medicine, African Art and the Wilderness.
From the publication: La sculpture des Lega
Galerie Helene & Philippe LeLoup
26 cm
From the publication: La sculpture des Lega
Galerie Helene & Philippe LeLoup
22 cm
Lega Figure
Democratic Republic Congo, Ex. Zaire
Size: 9 1/2 inches, wood and fur
Inv # 8910
Merton Simpson Gallery, NY

A fine Lega Figure standing on wedge-type feet with slightly bent knees to support a protruding torso adorned by a fur belt, a prominent
oval head coiffed with reddish-brown fur, a heart-shaped face featuring small coffee beans eyes and a square hollow mouth; exceptionally
fine brown patina with traces of kaolin overlaid.
Lega figure
11"
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Information and examples - Wayinda figures
Wood, pigment
H. 28 cm
This piece is in the Tomkins Collection

"Although no contextual data are available for this particular piece, it is
virtually certain that the object, because of its exaggerated, large
female sex placed in full perspective, represents a character of the
Wayinda type, a woman who indulges in illicit sexual relationships even
when she is pregnant, thus creating numerous problems for her child,
her husband, and eventually herself." (Biebuyck 1994:128)

Provenance:
John Giltsoff, Girona, 2005
James Willis, San Francisco
Galerie Helene & Philippe Leloup, Paris

Publishing History:
Daniel P. Biebuyck. La sculpture des Lega.
Galerie Hélène & Philippe Leloup. Paris, 1994: page 129.
CLICK HERE to go to my Lengola figures page
The Lengola are a group of people that lived in close proximity
to the Lega and share similar aesthetic qualities in their
carvings and masks.
Art of the Lega
is a fantastic reference book on the Lega
home page

Lega main page