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The Kwango River area (southwest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is the home of some 300,000 Yaka people. The men traditionally practiced hunting, while the women cultivated manioc, yams, peas, pineapples and peanuts. The arts of the Yaka are very much alive today. Ceremonial masks and figures are the work of a sculptor who carries out his art well away from the view of other villagers. The Yaka have an initiation, the n-khanda. A special hut is built in the forest to give shelter to the postulants during their retreat; the event ends in circumcision, an occasion for great masked festivities including dances and song. The n-khanda is organized every time there are enough eligible youths between ten and fifteen years of age. The present figure used in some initiation ceremonies. Its function is not clear.
This sculpture has been in our private collection for years