- Label Text
- Traditional amulets or charms are carved and used by the Yaka to serve a therapeutic purpose. Both numerous and diverse in appearance, they are small figures and are usually missing a body part such as a leg. Whatever the form, all depend on added substances, such as palm oil, red camwood or kola nuts, to activate a protective spirit that can harm or cure. Owned by a lineage, one person in each generation is selected by the spirit who cures the chosen one of an illness caused by someone's anti-social act (e.g. theft). The figures are carved and medicines applied to them as part of the healing ceremonies during which they are worn around the neck or arm. After the cure is complete, the figures are stored in a special miniature healing shelter. Up to twenty figures may be stored together, forming a hierarchy of chiefs, wives and attendents.
- Wood amulet carved in the form of a human figure with no arms or legs and rudimentary facial features. The figure is tied around the neck with a cotton cord.
- Data Source
- National Museum of African Art
- Yaka artist
- Early to mid-20th century
- Credit Line
- Gift of Harry and Freda Schaeffer
- Wood, cotton
- H x D: 8.9 x 1.9 cm (3 1/2 x 3/4 in.)