Lot 144: African Brass & Wood Bakota Reliquary
November 7, 2016
Louisville, CO, USA
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Africa, Gabon, Bakota/Kota, ca. early 20th century CE. Comprised of hammered brass over wood, a fine Bakota reliquary statue is traditionally referred to as a "legged head" figure with its diamond shaped limbs extending below the long, coiled neck. Several African cultures, including the Fang, the Mahongwe, and the Bakota - use reliquary statues to protect the remains of the deceased from mischievious spirits and grave robbers. Though similar in function, they differ greatly in style. Bakota guardians are very abstract with stylized coiffures, oval visages presenting concave surfaces, sometimes with repousee details as we see in this example. All is sheathed in either brass, which reflects light and gleams at night to protect the deceased from evil. A figure like this would have been mounted upon a container that held relics of significant ancestors. In addition to serving as guardians, they were revered as omniscient oracles. Size: 11.75" W x 24.875" H (29.8 cm x 63.2 cm)
Provenance: Ex-Pearson Collection, Denver, CO
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Condition Report: A few stable cracks to the brass as shown. A few losses and age cracks to wood. Both wood and brass show nice patina.