African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Tam Kota
Tam Kota (N° 13515)
Ex-Belgian African art collection.
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The footing of this tam-tam Kota, which accompanied the ritual dances, is composed of two curved supports and two miniature reliquary figures, caryatids resting on a ring. These abstract effigies embodying the ancestors, named ngulu, surmounted the baskets bwed in which the relics of the ancients of high lineage were kept. The membrane of the drum, fixed by large wooden pegs around which raffia cords are stretched, returns largely to the sound box. Friezes of contrasting patterns animate the surface. The guardian effigies of reliquary were recorded in the baskets in which the bones and relics of the ancestors were inserted. 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 magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. In the Kota, these figures have reached a degree of stylization and amazing abstraction: reduced to the shoulders and to the "Bras" topped by a large face, the latter can be concave (female) or convex (male).