Peoples & Societies


The Wamba River that flows along the southwest area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and northern Angola is home to one million Yaka. The Bantu-speaking Yaka migrated to this region in the 16th century. Their highly structured hunting and farming society is ruled by a chief of Lunda origin. Like the Suku, the yaka believe their chiefs are superhuman and create royal regalia for their use. Yaka artists craft masks for initiation ceremonies, statuettes, and prestige objects. Although the Yaka have been influenced by the Suku, Kongo, Holo, and Teke peoples, their art can be identified by its distinctive features, such as the upturned nose and the pigments applied to the surface of carved wooden objects.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 305.

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