african masksYaka-tribe
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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Yaka-Power-FigureYaka Power Figure head sideYaka tribe.

 

A big Yaka power figure

 

Both mbwoolo sculptures and a type of carved slit drum known as a mukoku are used by ritual specialists. Mukoku help in the divination process, and mbwoolo are used to embody protective medecine. The Yaka also carve numerous masks and headgear for use in initiation and to be worn by traditional leaders. Hair combs and fly whisks often are carved with decorations as well.

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Oral history suggests that the Yaka, along with the Suku, were part of an invasion against the Kongo Kingdom that came from the Lunda Plateau in the 16th century. Previous to that time Yaka culture was enveloped in Kongo language and agriculture. Lunda expansion and creation of the Inbangala Kingdom in 1620 greatly affected the occupants of the Kwango River area, which included both the Yaka and the Suku. At one time the Yaka kingdom was comprised of several smaller ethnic groups, including the Suku. In an effort to expand to the northwest and east, Yaka chiefs weakened their kingdom's strength and were forced to become subservient to the Lunda. The Lunda-Chokwe empire collapsed in the 19th century and the Yaka regained some of their independence.

The Yaka follow matrilineal descent patterns, which are overlayed with a reckoning of patrilineal ascent, family name, and land ownership. Each community has a local chief who is the direct descendant of the original land owner and usually is controlled to some extent by a paramount regional chief. The Zairian government officially governs each region in conjunction with the local chiefs, controlling the extent of the power of those individual chiefs. Ritual specialists and diviners who achieve their prominence through display of their individual healing powers also inform political decisions.

The creator who inhabits the sky (ndzambyaphuungu) is responsible for life, death, and all unanswerable questions. There are no religious practices that actively pay homage to this god. Instead, religious celebrations focus on honoring the elders and ancestors (bambuta). The death of an elder is cause for a public ceremony performed by other elders. Bambuta may be honored by recognizing and practicing the traditional ways and through offerings and gifts. The offering place is usually a clearing in the forest (yipheesolu). This place is off-limits to outsiders and all women. Offerings may otherwise be made at the grave site of the ancestors. Divination is of prime importance to the Yaka, and the powers of a medicine person (ngaanga) are measured by the ability to discern the cause of illness.

found at: http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/people/Yaka.html 

 

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In this section:
Start
Omhoog
Lega masks
Kongo-Yombe-Bembe
Luba- Lion king
Teke
Salampasu
Tabwa
Tchokwe Lunda
Yaka-tribe
Kuba 

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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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read also : Start ] Lega masks ] Kongo-Yombe-Bembe ] Luba- Lion king ] Teke ] Salampasu ] Tabwa ] Tchokwe Lunda ] [ Yaka-tribe ] Kuba ]

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