Yaka Ndeemba mask
  • Yaka Ndeemba mask
  • African art initiation mask
  • Tribal art mask Yaka Ndeemba

Yaka Ndeemba mask

This traditional African mask linked to the mukanda initiation (circumcision) often appears in pairs, but differentiated.

Theoretically, it is danced by a young person occupying a privileged status.

The "antennae" of the Ndeemba mask and the higher central point represent long tapered braids, symbols of genetic power.

The Yaka masks are generally of a dazzling polychromy and acquire their full meaning by the superstructure they carry. The example here is distinguished by its face representing the owl. This is a rarer type of mask of which a few examples are references.

Attached, a Yaka Ndeemba owl mask from the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren) very similar in terms of style and quality.

In the rites linked to the initiation of the Yaka, there are many references to their Luna and Chokwe origins. Masked dancers identify with civilizing ancestors.

At the new moon, the diviner covers his face with kaolin before issuing an oracle. During its diurnal passage in the basement, the moon coats itself with this white clay.

At night, it conveys the virtues of life.

Small discreet restoration on the front left appendix.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
Mid XXth century
66 cm (72 cm with support)
Ethnic group
Yaka / Bayaka
Wood, accessories
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Tribal art collection Belgium
Very good

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