Former Belgian private collection of African art J. Putteneers. This is a double cut called anthropomorph. The handle of the cup ends with a face that respects all the canons of Yaka art, especially the upturned nose and bulging headdress. This type of cutting was used by soothsayers as part of their divinatory rituals. With the Yaka, at the new moon, the soothsayer covers his face with kaolin before issuing an oracle. In the Yaka custom, during its daytime passage into the basement, the moon is coated with this white clay. At night it conveys the virtues of life. By mimicking the cycle of the moon, the soothsayer appropriates its powers. The yaka society is extremely hierarchical and authoritarian. The head of lineage has indeed the right to life and death on his subjects. As is often the case, the artistic current of the ethnic group was influenced by neighbouring populations. For the Yaka, the influence came mainly from the Suku and Kongo ethnic groups. Yaka statuary focuses on both healing and evil.
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