Global Art & Artifacts

Yaka Ndeemba Mask.  n-khanda / Mukanda Ceremonial.  Northern Yaka.  Northern DRC Congo

Click the photo above for a larger version and more pictures


After a long history of forced migration and union with other groups, the Yaka have been an independent society since the 19th century.  Living in the northern Congo, the Yaka are primarily hunters, although they also practice small scale farming.  The Yaka has a tight-knit control & social system:  a chief, second in command who dictates to line chiefs.


Yaka’s are definitively known for their masks and sculpture… and each piece are unique and well defined!


This style of mask is one of three styles used by the Yaka people in the n-khanda / Mukanda coming of age ceremony, in which boys are circumcised. Many masks will have characters carved into the top of the main mask but this one mask specifically was created/carved to display a masculine confidence that wards off ill-happenings while the youth are being initiated . . .  a very serious expression (and broad nose) symbolizing masculine power and fertility.


Obviously, a mask created for a chief’s son.


The majority of the mass of these masks is made up of raffia, which extends from the back of the head sides of the face all around down to the chin. Worn to bolster the young initiates through the hard trial of circumcision, the overall imagery is intended to instill confidence and a sense of aggressive manhood. With all this emphasis on manhood, the nature of gender relations in Yaka society is pretty obvious.


This was not made to be worn.  There is a hand post behind the face.  Or, the entire mask could be mounted on a pole during ceremonies.  For display, I will include a chrome stand.


In good condition with small cracks and scrapes.  Paint, raffia and headdress are is good condition also.


These authentic & older masks are becoming more rare and are being replaced with newer ones with less significance and historical meanings.


A rare opportunity for the Serious Collector.


NOTE to the Art Collector, Gallery Owner, Dealer or Academic: click here for items unique to your requirements.

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