A fragmentary Kota-Ndassa, reliquary sculpture

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Category: SKU: CSC08021


A fragmentary Kota-Ndassa, reliquary sculpture, Mbulu Ngulu Figure, Gabon, carved from heavy, hard wood, partly eroded, and coated with strips of copper and brass, the circular eyes made of bones, posted on a wooden plinth. the sculpture was obviously made of relativly thick metalsheets, may be from old tea boxes or other recycle materials. Around 1950, incl. stand.

Related Lit. Ingeborg Bolz, ‘Zur Kunst in Gabon: Stilkritische Untersuchungen an Masken und Plastiken des Ogowe-Gebietes’, Ethnologica: Beiträge zur Afrikanischen Kunst, Vol. 3, 1966,
Louis Perrois, Kota, Milan, 2012, p. 95, pl. 14, and p. 147.

When the funeral sculptures of the Ba Kota were discovered around 1920 and the first publications appeared, what happened in the following years happened again and again: scarcely had there any enthnological “discoveries” that lay outside the village protection, were the objects in stolen in no time. There are many examples in African history for this. So there were no more Gwandusus within 2 years, because these Bamana sculptures were set up in the open field and were so easy prey of art robbers, which usually locals incited them to betray the places where these figures were placed as protective figures in the open air. Similar things happened with the Djenne-Terracotta after the Prof. Macintoshs had made their excavations public under large press swirls (see National Geographic Magazine). Even the memory heads of the Akan, who were standing on graves similar to the Bakota met the same fate. In many cases, with the exception of the archaeological artifacts, the cult continued to live, but the sculptures and masks were preserved in the villages, and not outside anymore. (the Kore masks of the Bamana, which were kept in the forest for ritual reasons)The question arises as to which objects continued to be cultically cultivated and which objects were produced for the market alone, even though they were no longer kept or set up outside the villages. Already the ethnological or archaeological “discovery” and its publication resulted in making copies that met the needs of the market. Western provenances for “Bakota reliquary figures” – as they are often cited in catalogs – that such an object was in the West in the thirties, say at all about whether such an object was in ritual use.

900 – 1.200,- Euro

Height: 50 cm
1,7 kg

Additional information

Weight 1.7 kg