Yaka Power Figure
Once termed by old literature as "fetishes," power figures or power statues are created and used to serve specific functions. Man is bound in an ambiguous relationship with power figures because they can potentially be an ally or an enemy. Examples of negative functions that a figure serves can be to inflict illness, to harm, or to take revenge-- particularly against witches. But, on a more positive note, the majority of power objects function in ways that benefit man. Certain power objects are made to protect one from misfortunes, to heal, or to bring success.

Power figures and objects differ from ancestor figures because they derive their power through ritual use and application of power ingredients. A figure lacking such ingredients does not fulfill its purpose and has no meaning to the Yaka. It is a ritual expert who applies them and initiates its specific function. This ritual specialist is known as a nganga. Here, the Yaka power figure exemplifies this use and application of power ingredients. Tied around the neck of the figure is an tooth which dangles on its chest area. Attached to the sides of the statuette are two pouches with twigs and feathers projecting from them. The two small pouches probably contain medicinal power ingredients such as plants, special rocks, or animal products. (LV)

Power Figure Wood, feathers, tooth, skin. Yaka
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