height 9 3/4in (25cm)
Michel Boulanger Collection, Liege/Brussels
French Private Collection
David Binkley notes, 'This sculpture represents the character katanda (literally, mat). This denomination refers in this context to "the mat of red ants" (katanda ke ibazi), a formula that bears on the destructive effects of a dispersal of red ants (in opposition to mutandi we ibazi, an orderly column of migrating red ants.) Metaphorically, the name points to an evil character, one too intent on the seduction of women (particularly initiated women). By means of a system of opposites, the initiates illustrate through this character that a great kindi [member of the highest grade] should not be a seducer whose attitude creates tension in the group.' (Gustaaf Verswijver, et. al. (ed), Masterpieces from Central Africa, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, 1996, p. 188, cat. 108)
Of highly stylized form, this blackened figure is carved with a board-like body, riddled with circular perforations, raised arms and outward bending legs, the spherical head with the heart-like face whitened with pigment.