The Yaka live in southwestern Congo. Their small power figures, called 'Yiteke', serve as protective amulets against misfortune, witchcraft, illness and death. The Yaka figure presented here wears a ‘magic ball’ around the middle of its body, as is often found amongst the Teke, the northern neighbours of the Yaka. In such balls, the ‘ritual specialist’ of the community (priest, magician, healer etc.) packs his ‘magic material’ out of plants, earth and small objects, through which the ‘power’ of the figure first becomes effective. If the figure is sold or passed on, the ‘magic ball’ is mostly removed. The present power figure 'Yiteke' displays the typical style of the Yaka: with expressively executed head and characteristic profile. There are two iron pipes in the shoulders.The visible parts made of wood display a good, old patina. H. 27 cm. Mid 20th century.
Provenance: Joris Visser, Brussels