Mbulu-ngulu figure. Kota people, Gabon, West Africa. Mid to late 20th century.
Carved from hardwood, with extremely pronounced features and heavily decorated copper and brass overlay. A two dimensional, heavily stylised human figure with the typical diamond lower silhouette and elaborately coiffed hair. This figure, with its concave face, is female. The metals used in these statues are believed to hold magical powers - copper in particular grants long life and power. The Kota revere their ancestors, with ancestor worship forming the core of many Kota family social occasions and events, during which time they were taken from the home and paraded about in ceremonies. These figures typically stand guard over baskets or boxes called bwete, which contain the remains of ancestors. They were usually kept within families for generations, but during the latter part of the 20th century when traditional beliefs were abandoned, many were sold by their owners.
This is a beautiful example of this type of funerary protective statue.
Comes with metal stand.
Measurements: Height 54 cm, width at widest point 30 cm.