A stylized human head with an elaborate coiffure, sitting atop a larger animal head with scarification marks below the eyes, tops a well-carved staff with angular handle and a zig-zag carved pattern below the handle. The eyes of both figures are set in shallow cavities and appear squinted or closed.
Finely carved staffs (called "kooko" or "nhkuumbu" in the local language) display their use as symbols of a chief's authority. Reference to leadership and the elders is also made in the variations in coiffure and headgear that represent the distinctive hairstyles of previous generations of chiefs. Among the Yaka, living elders and chiefs were regarded as repositories of supernatural powers, who can protect against evil as well as withdraw their protection in case of disobedience or disrespect.
ON RECTO. Artist's "signature" is his name added to several businesses depicted in image: ware house No. 1 / Vernon I. Jirgins Co. / Founded 1923 + ON VERSO. written on original brown paper backing on frame: Property of J. Colboth
ON RECTO. Signed in black paint, bottom center: Jim Suddth + ON VERSO. Inscribed in blue ink on white label, affixed top center: 876 Jimmy Lee Sudduth / UNTITLED PAINTED FRAME with figure / mud/paint on wood + Inscribed in blue ink on small white label, top center: I 54
ON RECTO. Signed in black paint, bottom left corner: MOSET [the "S" is painted in reverse] + ON VERSO. Inscribed in black marker, center top: SELF PORTRAIT + Lumber stamps appear, bottom center to bottom right + Inscribed in black ink on white label, top center: I66
81.3 cm x 40.6 cm x 0.64 cm (32 in. x 16 in. x 1/4 in.)