Reliquary Figure

Exhibits: Ancestor Cult
Tribes: Kota peoples, Shamaye group
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Brass, Brass Nails, Brass Strips and Plates, Buttons, Wood
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According to L. Perrois, the Shamaye (as the Mahongwe, Kota) used copper and brass leaf ornamentation to enhance not only the guardian figure atop the reliquary receptacle, but also the relics themselves stored inside (L.Perrois). This statue shows identifying traces of Kota-Mahongwe styles: a narrow oval face decorated with brass strips applied horizontally (as in the Mahongwe), a convex-concave face (as the Kota) with contrasting volumetric effect between a highly prominent oval forehead, raised angular nose and slightly concave almost flat cheeks. The absence of a mouth is typical of the Mahongwe. The base shows strong erosion where the figure was attached to its reliquary receptacle. 


L. Perrois, African art, Prestel, 1988, p.208-209.

 Reliquary Figure
 Reliquary Figure
 Reliquary Figure