Guardian Figure, Obamba

Kota, Gabon
Late 19th cent.
Wood and metal

32 cm



French private’s collection and kept in the family since
Daniel Hourdé’s collection, Paris
Phillipe Ratton’s gallery, Paris

Anna Demina Collection


Galerie Ratton, Gabon, Paris, June-September 2017, pp.28-29


This Kota reliquary figure represents symbolically an ancestor. The Kota attached
a prominent importance to ancestor worship and these effigies called mbulu ngulu in vernacular
language were considered as « wooden soul ». It once overcame a basket that contained the
relics of ancestors.
This sculpture presents an oval face with a pointed chin. The headdress on top of the
head has a crescent shape and develops on each side of the face in shell-shape. They are
decorated with a guilloche pattern, as the neck of the figure.
This classic Kota sculpture is finely crafted. Kota produced an iconic art of African
sculpture and has largely inspired iconic artists of the avant-garde of the 1920s.