This is a beautiful and Old Yaka Initiation Mask from Democratic Republic of Congo. This stunning zoomorphic mask styled as a bird face with a beak is put together with a complex construction of painted wood, fiber and woven raffia and cloth. These are still made and used for Yaka initiations. Yaka masks used within n-Khanda initiation belong to four structural types; (1) those that are constructed of various materials attached to a netted head cover; (2) those built on a splint frame attached to a paddle-like wooden face; (3) those masks carved a single cylinder of wood into the form of a helmet; and (4) those carved in wood into an oversized facial form. The Yaka divide them accordingly to function, those that terrorize rather than dance and masks that are used to entertain the coming out festivities. The sculptor possesses his own fortifying charms and through the Kambaandzya masks associated with the master-sculptor who originally taught him. Although Yaka sculptors normally learn their craft from one’s father, several indicated learning on their own. When a sculptor is paid for his services, a portion of this payment customarily is allotted to the master sculptor who taught him, or if deceased, on offering is placed upon his grave. A deceased sculptor is buried with this mask and subsequently other Kambaandzya masks are places upon his tomb. A variety of traditional forms appear on the constructed coiffure of the mask ranging from simple cone shapes to a central spire rising from the crown of the head (like this one) supporting from one to four horizontal discs and flanked by antennae-like projections. The tip of each projection is connected by means of a raffia fiber string and decorative strips of cloth. This is a an amazing mask in detail and style, and would be a wonderful addition to your home and collection.
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34" tall x 11" wide x 10" deep x 37" around the top
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