African art > Reliquaries, statues > Reliquary Kota

Reliquary Kota (N° 23656)

This ritual African sculpture, plated with metal sheets according to the kota tradition, forms a stylized image of the ancestor, a coat of arms also for the clan, and is generally distinguished by the shape of the headdress, which varies depending on the regions.
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 the 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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OriginEx-collection belge
EthnyKota
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood, metal, os
Height cm53
Width23 cm
Weight2.10 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1960
Socle includedYes

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