African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary
Kota reliquary (N° 22703)
African sculpture ritual, plated with copper sheets according to the kota tradition, forming a stylized image of the ancestor, a coat of arms also for the clan, and which is generally distinguished by the shape of the headdress, variable depending on the regions. This version is distinguished by its geometric plans and volumes.
The Kota inhabit the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and some in the Republic of Congo. The blacksmith, in addition to wood carving, made tools for agricultural work as well as ritual weapons. The sculptures playing the role of "medium" between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites at bwete , comparable to those of the Fang . They are sometimes bifaces, the mbulu-viti, symbolizing the masculine and feminine aspect at the same time. This type of room, called ngulu, acted as "guardian" of the relics above the baskets containing the mortuary remains of the ancestors of high lineage. In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand.
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