Yaka Janus Figure 16″ – DRC – African Art



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This statue depicts a double faced (Janus) figure carved in the Yaka style. The figure is adorned with a paraphernalia bundle. The statue is 16 inches tall and weighs 3.5 pounds.

Type of Object

Figure, statue

Country of Origin

DR Congo




Wood, pigment, fabric paraphernalia bundle

Approximate Age


Height (Inches)


Width (Inches)


Depth (Inches)


Weight (Pounds)

3.5 lbs

Overall Condition

Possible minor imperfections and wear & tear, including but not limited to scuffing, cracking and minimal chipping. Possible previous repairs. See photos or inquire for more details.

Tribe Information

About the Yaka People

“Today, the 300,000 Yaka people live along the Wamba River. They migrated from Angola during the 16th century and settled under the control of the Kongo kingdom. In the 18th century their lands were annexed by the Angola-based Lunda people, but by the 19th century the Yaka had regained their independence. Yaka society is tightly structured and headed by a chief of Lunda origin, the Kiamfu, who delegates responsibilities to ministers and lineage chiefs, Unkwagata. Young men are expected to pass through various initiation stages, including circumcision. The tribe lives principally from hunting, although subsidiary farming is undertaken by the women. Yaka artistic tradition is rich and various, but much of it has been informed by their neighbours - the Suku, the Kongo, the Holo and the Teke. Nevertheless, Yaka statues do have common characteristics- an upturned nose and applied pigments.

Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.

Additional Information

About the Yaka Figures

“The majority of Yaka figures were carved in pairs and were associated with Mbwoolo shrines. Their abdomen are hollow, enabling the insertion of fetish material and they are also adorned with bundles of paraphernalia. Yaka figures are multi-functional and sometimes have contradictory roles, for example, they were used to heal and to cause illness.”

Yaka statues were usually placed on shrines and used to inflict pain and to heal. The diviner has a significant role because he owns and activates powerful objects to either protect or harm.