Azande Zande Figure Congo
Figures among the Azande (Zande) known as Yanda, served to represent ancestral or protective spirits who looked over the members of an Azande cult known as Mani (This cult was also shared by close neighbors the Mangbetu). Figures either carved of wood or shaped out of clay were used by senior male members of Mani, known as Bandakpa, to cure illnesses, forestall spells or to cast spells or attach a witch to an enemy.
The Mani cult enrolled women and men and worked to assure health and to secure wealth and prosperity for the cult member. These charming figures takes their color from the magical application of roots, plants, bark and seeds called Libele by the Azande. Local scarification patterns worn by the people are also carved onto the face and thighs and genitals of the figure.
Zande sculpture was also thought to be related to that of their neighbors the Ngbaka and the Ngbande. These highly abstracted figures are today not common as most were thought to be made during the first third of the 20th Century.