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Tribal art > African mask > Yela Mask

Yela Flat Mask (N° 19384)

African art, minimalist sobriety
An abstract figuration of a face, this mask of flat structure is pierced with long parallel incisions for the dancer's vision. Without a mouth but with a flat nose pierced with nostrils, it also bears horizontal marks suggesting scarification. An old kaolin patina remains locally inlaid.
Several ethnic groups divided into lineages live closely intertwined in central Zaire: the Mbole, Yela, Lengola, and Metoko, and have similar associations. This proximity has generated certain stylistic borrowings. Indeed, their artistic production presents great analogies with that of the Metoko and Lengola. Their divination masks were exhibited during the closing ceremonies of initiation and circumcision of the youth of the divination society nkunda , during which their masks "nsembu" or "ibola" appeared in pairs, male/female. These associations, including the lilwa of the Yela and the Mbole, also judged those guilty of theft, adultery and murder. The judge, a high dignitary named isoya , also presided over the ritual celebrations marking the closing of the initiations. The masks relating to the convictions reflected a profound resignation, such as this two-colored copy.  

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This item is sold with its certificate of authenticity

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OriginCollection P. Malisse
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, plumes et plant fibre
Weight0.50 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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