Established in the southwest of DRC, the Yaka number some 300,000 individuals. The men traditionally practiced hunting, while the women cultivated manioc, yams, peas, pineapples and peanuts. The masks are the work of a sculptor who carries out his art well away from the initiation enclosure, also separated from the view of other villagers. The sculptural composition of this mask is typical of Yaka works. The face features are painted with bright colors on white background. The ensemble is framed by the sizeable mass of a coiffure in raffia fiber, this surmounted by a hat made from armature of vegetable fiber and covered with a resin-coated tissue. The kholuka mask which is very popular among the Yaka dances alone at the end of celebrations. The whole mask refers to the power of the elders and their predecessors, and every element of the mask is the plastic translation of a cosmological term. Generally such masks were used only once.
Provenance: Raskin Private Collection
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