African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Gong City

Gong City (N° 17918)

A traditional accessory accompanying the various ritual ceremonies, this gong is topped by a figure of copper-plated wooden reliquary, whose design would be characteristic of the Obamba (subgroup kota according to some) or The Mindoumou (or Ondoumbo) of Haut-Ogooué in the north of the Gabon.La patina attests to the age of this piece.
The Bakota live in 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. Sculptures playing the role of 'medium' between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites of 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. These types of pieces were used in the preservation of mortuary remains of the upper-line ancestors in baskets topped with sculptures. In the exclusive presence of insiders, the clan's major decisions were made during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magical charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand.  

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OriginColl. française Beauduin
EthnyKota
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood, metal, plant fibre
Height cm43
Width13 cm
Weight0.55 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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