African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque Yela
Masque Yela (N° 16416)
Circular mask, convex, it is divided into two vegetable colors, one based on red bark, the second of white, crusty kaolin. The large strips dug on its surface could evoke the traditional scarifications of the clan.
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The Tetela and Yela groups are of Mongo origin and are neighbouring. The Sculpture of the Tetela takes various forms, borrowed from the clans they co-operate, among them songye inspirations with polychrome works. Several ethnic groups divided into branches live closely intertwined in central Zaire: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko, and have similar associations. This proximity has generated some stylistic borrowings. Their artistic production has great analogies with that of the Metoko and Lengola. Their divination masks were displayed at the closing ceremonies of the initiation and circumcision of the young of the divination society nkunda , during which their masks Were displayed in pairs, male/female. These associations, including the lilwa Yela and Mbole, also found 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.