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Reliquary Figure

Kota peoples, Gabon

Wood, copper and ivory

Anonymous gift

4.5 x 14.75 x 2 in

Among Kota peoples, relics belonging to deceased members of extensive lineage groups were guarded in sanctuary houses where they could be visited, honoured and renewed on a regular basis. The relics were kept inside of large baskets to which reliquary guardian figures were secured. Such figures projected from the basket, their copper sheeting gleaming to deflect the advances of aggressive trespassers. The hairstyle is rendered as flanges surrounding the face to increase the protecting surface

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