The Yela, and their neighbors the Mbole, live in the central-eastern equatorial forest.
Their socio-cultural life is dominated by the Lilwa secret society, which is judicial in nature.
The mask is worn by the"Kumi", the executioner or hangman, but was also used during male initiation ceremonies into the Lilwa association to obtain discipline and secrecy from the new initiates.
The masks from the Yela and Mbole show stylized faces, oblique streaks under the eyes, but no mouth. These were used by ranking members of the Lilwa society during ceremonies that symbolized judgement, emphasizing moral conduct.
These highly stylized traditional masks intervened during initiation rituals of which little is known because they took place away from the village, in secrecy.
Height:10" x Width: 7 ½"
It is 15 ¾" tall on its 5" square wooden base.