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
- Figure (Mbulu Ngulu)
- Wood, brass, copper, and iron
- H. 54.6 cm (21 1/2 in.)
- Charles H. and Mary F. Worcester Collection Fund