About this artwork
Such flat, abstracted figures made of wood and brass were originally attached to baskets or bark boxes and served as guardians of the enclosed ancestral relics—typically the skulls and other bones of important men within the clan. Around 1930, the creation of these reliquary guardian figures ceased in response to the spread of Christianity throughout the region. Many sculptures were destroyed in the accompanying social upheaval.
- Figure (Mbulu Ngulu)
- Wood, brass, and ivory
- H. 34.3 cm (13 1/2 in.)
- Restricted gift of the Alsdorf Foundation