Loading

Reliquary Figure

19th century

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

This double-sided, dual-faced figure once guarded a bark or raffia reliquary containing the skulls and bones of revered ancestors. As sacred relics, ancestral skeletal remains were consulted for aid and advice prior to any major family or community undertaking. The reliquary guardian figure's wooden core was covered with copper or copper-alloy, investing it with a shiny "whiteness" believed to enhance its clairvoyance and powers of protection from malevolent forces. In its two faces, this figure displays both an abstracted, concave style and a more organic, naturalistic approach.

Show lessRead more
  • Title: Reliquary Figure
  • Date Created: 19th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w406.4 x h631.7 x d76.2 in
  • Culture: Kota peoples
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust through the George H. and Elizabeth O. Davis Fund, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust through the George H. and Elizabeth O. Davis Fund
  • Medium: Wood, copper, copper alloy, and iron

Recommended

Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile