African art > Mask > Yela two-tone mask
Yela two-tone mask (N° 12086)
African art, minimalist sobriety
Several ethnic groups divided into lineages live closely intertwined in the centre of Zaire: the Mbole, Yela, Lengola, and Metoko, and have similar associations. This proximity has generated some stylistic borrowings. Their artistic production has great analogies with that of the Metoko and the Lengola. Their divination masks were displayed during the closing ceremonies of the initiation and circumcision of the young people of the divination society nkunda , during which their masks are or 'ibola' appeared in pairs, male/female. These associations, including the lilwa of the Yela and Mbole, also emed those guilty of theft, adultery and murder. The judge, a high-ranking dignitary named , 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-tone copy. Circular mask, very slightly convex, it is divided into two vegetable colors, one based on red bark, the second of white kaolin. Instead of eyes, scarifications, nostrils and mouth, its appearance displays the characteristic sadness of the so-called 'punishment' masks.