240152 - African mukhanda Yaka mask - Congo.


Congo: old African Mukanda Yaka mask.
Hand carved from a single piece of wood, with color pigments and Raffia.
Height: 49 cm.
Masks with handles are characteristic of the Yaka, located between Kimbau on the Inzia River and the Nkanu and Zombo geographical area. The initiation society among the Yaka is the NKANDA and the MUKANDA among the Suku. She takes care of young people from 10 to 15 years old to provide them with education, both in the field of knowledge (in all areas including songs, dances, traditional stories, medicinal plants, etc.) and in the field of physical development.
The initiation places special emphasis on the importance of posterity and therefore on sexual practices. The education extends over one or three years, during which the young people leave the village during their retirement. The initiation ends with circumcision and is the occasion for major ceremonies. Generally, initiation masks have a prominent “trumpet” or upturned nose; sign of a certain sexual power. All these masks are burned at the end of the initiation. Noses are then cut off and their ashes collected to preserve them for future circumcision ceremonies. There is a hierarchy in Yaka initiation masks: the Ndeemba is the 'normal' mask that can be worn by young initiates and the Kholuka is the most important. The latter appears only during the ceremonies marking the end of the period of seclusion. It is always a very colorful mask.
Small scenes are depicted on the face or above the mask, always with a sexual component or related to the cycles of the sun and moon. There is great creativity in shapes.