Figure (Mbulu Ngulu)

A work made of wood, brass, copper, and iron.

Image actions

  • A work made of wood, brass, copper, and iron.

Date:

Late 19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Kota: Mindumu or Obamba
Gabon
Central Africa

About this artwork

The making of figures to guard and honor distinguished ancestors and give focus to ongoing communion with them was once widespread across equatorial Africa. Kota peoples, including the Mindumu, Obamba, Sango, and Shamaye, strapped reliquary figures to basketry bundles containing the vital remains of ancestors. Kota reliquary figures reduced the human form to flattened shapes and planes accentuated with sheets and strips of metal. Their dramatic use of metal heightened their value and association with prosperity. Kota reliquaries, like those of the Fang, had a profound impact on the work of avant-garde artists in Paris in the early 20th century.

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Artist

Kota

Title

Figure (Mbulu Ngulu)

Origin

Gabon

Date

1875–1925

Medium

Wood, brass, copper, and iron

Dimensions

H. 54.6 cm (21 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Charles H. and Mary F. Worcester Collection Fund

Reference Number

2007.212

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share