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    Description

    NKANU, Democratic Republic of the Congo / Angola Nkanda
    Initiation Enclosure Panel

    Wood, pigments

    For most of the 20th century, Nkanu art has been attributed to the Yaka, who live just to the east of the Nkanu and have a similar language, economy, social and initiation customs. Yaka initiations, like Nkanu initiations, involve the use of wood masks, sculptures and wall panels, but Yaka panels are made of bark, not carved of soft wood in relief and decorated with earth pigments like those of the Nkanu.

    The initiation process "nkanda" or "Mukanda" takes place when there are enough boys aged 10 to 15 years old in the village. "Nkanda" is held over several months, during which the boys live away from the village. A special roofed, three-sided enclosure, "Kikaku," is constructed for them. During their period of instruction the boys watch the carvers produce wall panels, masks and freestanding figures, and the meanings of these objects are explained to them. In the initiation school they learn about adult responsibilities, good and bad behavior and community standards as well as facts about specialized occupations. The panels and figures illustrate proverbs and stories on themes of birth, growth, responsibilities, proper sexual behavior, and matters concerning death and the spirit world. The arts teach by illustrating both good and bad examples.

    At the end of the period of instruction, the boys are circumcised and "reborn" as adults, and general village celebration. Some of the artworks are kept for a time during the one or two-year period in which the new initiates travel to nearby communities to demonstrate their new adult knowledge in return for gifts of food or money.

    Out of context, it is difficult to know what the meaning of the relief-carved male figure on a geometric, painted background of the present sculpture might be.

    Provenance:
    The Robert V. Berg Collection

    Read more about the Robert V. Berg Collection here.



    Dimensions: 41 x 18 inches



    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2016
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 611

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