Yaka (Bayaka), Democratic Republic of the Congo
Statue of a dignitary. The Kwango River area (southwest of the Democratic Republic of
the Congo) is the home of the Yaka and Suku, highly artistic peoples. The
men traditionally practiced hunting, while the women cultivated manioc, yams, peas,
pineapples and peanuts. Their institutions,
political organization, and cultural traditions are almost identical; they can be
differentiated only by the style of their statuary. The arts of the Yaka numbering about
300,000 are very much alive today. Their biteki statues that contain magic ingredients have malevolent or
beneficial functions. The pickaback motif in the present statue is presumably a male
dignitary. Being carried on the shoulders is usually a part of some rite of passage in
which the person must be kept off the ground or be treated like a newborn child.
Size: H. 35, W.
7, D. 7½