mad in pursuit notebook


Gabon, Africa: Kota Reliquary Guardian

old man's eyes

This was really a quick photo experiment — trying to break the habit of making all my tabletop photos look like they’re heading for the Sears Catalog.

The subject is an artifact from the Kota family of tribes, who live in Gabon, deep in central Africa. It’s made from hammered copper and copper wire on wood. The Kota peoples are ancestor worshipers. They preserve relics from their beloved in baskets and mount these figures on top of the baskets as magical guardians. At the beginning of the 20th century, they became popular with European art collectors.* We found this one in St. Louis, at a shop on Delmar.

Technical: handheld Canon DSLR, f5.0, shutter 1/6 sec, iso 800. Format: camera RAW, gently enhanced to bring out color.


*”Art of Africa” by Kerchache, Paudrat and Stephan (English edition, 1993)

June 12, 2011