Kota Beaded Face Mask with Shells Gabon
The Kota arrived in their current location after completing a series of migrations that started to the northeast, possibly near central Africa. These migrations began in the 18th century and were underway when European contact was first made about 150 years later. Unlike the Fang, their neighbors to the east, the Kota were a peaceful people who preferred to pick up and move rather than engage in warfare. European references dating to the 1870s identify the Kota in their modern homeland. Christian missionaries who entered the area in the early 1900s converted many of the Kota peoples. As a result, many of the art objects associated with their traditional religion were destroyed, buried, or in some cases thrown down wells. Since the 1930s efforts have been made by Europeans to locate these discarded objects, which have been divested of power, and remove them to Western museums. Often the Kota dig them up themselves and sell them for profit.
Approximate Age: 20th Century