Yaka Fiber Mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- wood, fiber
Monique Lorré, Brussels, acquired from the above
By descent through the family
National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., April 20 - September 25, 1994
Yaka masks were created by sculptors who have a position analagous to blacksmiths in their ability to take matter and transform it. Participating in an esoteric knowledge and practice, the artists can also ritually treat anyone "whose sickness or injury is thought to result from unauthorized contact with or misuse of certain masks" (ibid.: 140-142).
For a closely related mask photographed in situ by L. Huet between 1896 and 1899 cf. the archives of the Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren (inv. no. "E.PH.4594"), published in Herreman and Petridis (1993: 58, ill. 4). For a related mask in the Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren see Bourgeois (1984: fig. 129, MRAC inv. no. "31 359", collected before 1929); for another one formerly in the collection of Nelson Rockefeller see ibid. (fig. 174).