Guardian Figure, Bwete

Kota, Gabon
19th cent.

Wood, copper, brass, iron
45 cm


Old French Collection, Paris

Galerie Bernard Dulon, Paris, acquired from the above
 Private Collection, Münich, acquired from the above in the ‘90s

Dalton Somaré Gallery, Milan

Anna Demina Collection, Milan


A. and F. Chaffin, L’Art Kota, Les Figures de Reliquaire, Page 311, n. 19

Origins, A Vision on African Art, Dalton Somaré Gallery, Milan, 2019, pp. 36/39


This ancient and very well preserved small Bwete, which Chaffin puts for the shape of the crescent and the losanga in the group 18, sub-group 1, is especially remarkable for the excellent quality of its craftsmanship and for the balance of its proportions.
The massive concave face is entirely covered by thick native copper and brass stripes which are fixed with windings of the same metal to the band which vertically crosses the face.
Decorative windings crosses horizontally the face at the height of the eyes as well.
The metal stripes are placed in a manner to converge towards the center of the ellipse of the face, emphasising the bulging and alert eyes.
The lateral protuberances, which are placed following the same inclination of the metal strips on the face, contribuite to the dynamism of this remarkable sculpture and underline its lively and vigilant expression.
The large and perfectly symmetric losanga wears the signs of a long ritual use.