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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

Kota Ndasa reliquary figure (N° 21508)

Baskets containing the relics of illustrious ancestors, usually topped by two reliquary sculptures, were kept in village temples. One embodied the founder of the lineage, and the second his descendants. The cult of ancestors, the bwete (Northern Kota) was at the heart of the social and religious life of the Kota and has many analogies with that of the Fang . In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were made during ceremonies in which the reliquaries were brought out and used. In order to reactivate its magical charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. This sculpture has a headdress representative of the Ndasa of the upper Ogooué valley.
The concave face here offers crescent-shaped eyes each pierced with two pupils. Copper leaves and strips alternate on the sand-matted surface, supposed to reactivate the magical power of the reliquary.  

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OriginColl. belge Scruel
EthnyKota
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood, metal
Height63
Width29
Weight2.85 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°
Socle includedYes

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