African art > Reliquaries, statues > Obamba Reliquary
Obamba Reliquary (N° 22607)
This stylized ancestor figure is of the Obamba type from Haut-Ogooué. Sheets of metal adorn the wooden structure. The domed eyes, within a concave face evoking a skull, are animated by pupils.
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This type of effigy, among the Kota, had the function of keeping the mortuary relics of ancestors of high lineage, fragments of bones placed for this purpose in baskets made of wickerwork or bark.
In the exclusive presence of initiates of the bwete cult, the major decisions of the clan were made 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. Sacrifices and offerings were then administered for the purpose of protecting the community or family from harmful forces.
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