Panneau Nkanu - Congo RDC/Angola
This polychrome housepanel is a Nkanu representation, from southwestern Democratic Republic of Congo. It was used in the Nkanda young boys initiation. During this ritual, the boys were isolated from the village in an enclosure called kimpasi. The closing of the ceremony involves the construction of a kikaku shrine in which the panels were placed. The panels were associated with proverbs and moral and social values of the initiation process, especially fertility ideas.
This panel is adorned with a parrot carved in high relief in the center. According to Adriaan Gerbrands, the parrot symbolizes the male sexuality and its claws and red tail are symbols of fertility. The painted patterns on the body is a reference to the leopard or genet cat which alludes to traditional leaders who have the right to wear their skins.
This beautiful panel is complete and is one of the finest example known of this rare art.