Art is where we belong

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Size 13 cm
Material Bone
Origin D.R. Congo

The Lega gems from
the Alexandre Safiannikoff Collection

After a rich experience in the naval arm of the Russian Imperial Army and the arrival of the Revolutionnaries, Alexander Safiannikoff (1903-1988) broke a three century long tradition of familial involvement in the imperial russian army to arrive in France in 1926. He became there geolist and engineer geologist in Nancy.

From 1929 to 1931, he prospected for a french mining company, in Tchad, Ubangi-Shari and French Equatorial Africa. In 1931, he continued his carreer in the Belgian Congo and was hired for a mission in the Maniema by the company of the Baron Empain.

Alexandre Safiannikoff stayed in Congo more than 40 years mainly in the provinces of Kivu and Maniema. He had the chance to observe the Lega People and their art. He collected numerous objects and wrote a large essay on the objects related to the Bwami organization. This essay is now subject to an editing project with the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren. 


"Les Warega et les Wabembe
Une extraordinaire culture sociale et
une étonnante civilisation sans écriture en Afrique centrale"

Safiannikoff Editeur 2005, p.163b Fig 78a