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Classification: Sculpture

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Image of Initiation Mask (Kholuka)

Yaka Peoples

Initiation Mask (Kholuka)

20th century

Object Type: Sculpture
30 x 10 x 12 in. (76.2 x 25.4 x 30.48 cm)
Medium and Support: Wood, fiber, pigment, and cloth
Accession Number: 2013.0017.0030

Credit Line: Gift of Dileep and Martha Mehta

The Yaka make masks like this one that was danced to celebrate the emergence of young men from bush school, during which they had been segregated from all women. These masks are benevolent, and may have handles below the chin so that they may be held in front of the face. The thick mane of raffia fibers is typical of African masks.
Like many Yaka masks, this one features a small tableau of figures perched on its top. These are sewn in fabric and were once painted. The two wrestling figures appear to be male, and are probably related to young men’s passage into adult society, but the specific theme is unknown.

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