Gift of Jay T. Lastexpand_more 2019.47
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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