African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Polychromatic reliquary Kouyou
Polychromatic reliquary Kouyou (N° 11777)
Ex-collection of African art SEM Lamine Aidara,
a neighboring tribe of the Punu, settled on the banks of the Kuyu River, the Kouyou were once divided into two totemic clans: in the West that of the panther, and in the East that of the snake A secret masculine association, Ottoté, played an important political role in the appointment of the leaders.The initiation of the young men ended with the revelation of the god-serpent Ebongo represented in the form of a head. kibe who accompanied the ceremony reactivated the successive stages of creation.The clan of the panther had a drum for emblem.In his side, that of the snake had carved heads referring to the mythical ancestor, Oso, painted with bright colors, on sticks that the manipulator, concealed under a long dress, held hands outstretched over the head.This figure on foot, similar in style, has a cap conical in which a bouquet of feathers, today missing, was stuck. Carved in a hollow trunk, the object was intended to receive amalgams of magic ingredients or relics of ancestors. The bust is crossed by parallel lines, spiral and checkered evoking tribal scarification, while the head and legs are imbued with a deep red patina contrasting with the white kaolin that circles the eyes.