African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota Reliquary

Kota Reliquary (N° 25017)

Effigy of African ancestor Kota known as mbulu-ngulu, offering an oval face haloed by a flat headdress extended with pendants. The whole is plated with metal sheets engraved in repoussé. The base which would represent the arms is only partly covered with metal.
This type of figure topped the baskets in which the mortuary relics of high-line ancestors were stored, playing the role of guardians named ngulu.
Abrasions, small accidents.
In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which reliquaries were taken out and used by the banganga. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. Among the Kota, these figures have reached an astounding degree of stylization and abstraction: reduced to shoulders and "arms" surmounted by a large face, the latter can be concave (feminine) or convex (masculine).  

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OriginEx-collection française
EthnyKota
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood, metal
Height cm53
Width26 cm
Weight2.50 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1960
Socle includedYes

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