H: 25 inches, W: 13.5 inches
Materials: Wood, Brass
The Kota people, numbering about 78,000 , occupy the eastern part of Gabon, extending into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ancestral worship formed the core of their religious and social life. Reliquary figures of this type are among the sacred objects used by the Kota ethnic group devoted to honoring ancestors in order to obtain their good will. These guardian figures protect the relics that link the living to the dead. The adornment of brass/copper alloy, a material that signifies wealth and prestige; is also associated with daylight, and may have been applied to the figures to strengthen their defenses against intruders of the night, when the forces of evil are thought to be stronger.