Sculptural african art of Kota.
This guardian effigy reliquary, evoking the ancestors, adopts the traditional hairstyle: a top cap with flat hulls ending in two duvets. The face has a high convex forehead, an eyebrow arch in a heart shape with palpebral fissures stretched half-closed. The whole is clad with a network of two-colored metal strips, skilfully arranged, a fine nailing fixed to the frame of wood.
This type of sculpture played the role of "medium" between the living and the dead and continued to watch over the descendants. They are sometimes bifaces, mbulu-viti, symbolizing the masculine and feminine aspect at the same time. This type of room was indeed used during the preservation of mortuary remains of ancestors of high lineage in baskets surmounted by very specific sculptures playing somehow the role of guardians of relics named ngulu.
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. In the Kota, these figures have reached a degree of astounding stylization and abstraction: reduced to the shoulders and "arms" surmounted by a large face, the latter can be concave (female) or convex (male).
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