highly stylized figure; central rounded columnar area with protrusion at center (penis or navel?); slightly wider bottom portion with vertical indentation indicating legs; wedge-shaped head with beaklike nose protrusion; ring around waist/top of legs; flat top and bottom; medium wood patina

Figure, 1935-1955

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Wood, metalexpand_more

Gift of Jay T. Lastexpand_more  2019.47

Not on Viewexpand_more

Used by members of an initiatory association some eighty years ago, this Yanda figure shows traces of ritual libations on its surface. It has been adorned with a brass ring around the waist, a gift of its owner to show their gratitude for its efficacy. Zande people resorted to Yanda figures to ensure a successful hunt or harvest, to protect themselves against disease or witchcraft, and to promote health and—above all— fertility. The sculptor has beautifully organized the highly stylized body around the protruding navel.

This figure is part of a defined and well-documented corpus of ritual figures, called Yanda, made and used between 70 and 100 years ago in northern Congo. Although small in size, it is quite monumental in its conception and execution. The sculptor represented the human figure in a highly abstracted way, working with volumes and surfaces to create a simplified, ingeniously constructed geometric body.

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highly stylized figure; central rounded columnar area with protrusion at center (penis or navel?); slightly wider bottom portion with vertical indentation indicating legs; wedge-shaped head with beaklike nose protrusion; ring around waist/top of legs; flat top and bottom; medium wood patina