Ex-collection of French African art.
Symbolizing according to some authors the naja snake, this wooden sculpture decorated with strips and metal plates is characteristic of the Mahongwe of the extreme northeast of Gabon, on the Congo border. Baskets containing the relics of illustrious ancestors, generally topped by two reliquaries, were kept in village temples. One of them embodied the founder of the lineage, and the second his descendants.
The cult of ancestors, the bwete (North Kota) was at the heart of the social and religious life of the Kota and presents many analogies with that of the i>Fang. In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate its magical charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand.
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