African Art: a prestigious Swiss collection

Milan, Wednesday 14 October 2020


Kota (Gabon)

Blade in forged steel, handle wrapped in copper cables
H 34 cm
Ritual knife.
Kota name: Osele or Musele
name: Onzil
This is a Kota weapon, but it was also made by the Fang people in similar shapes.It is associated with young people’s initiation rites. During their circumcision, they wield the knife, which becomes a symbol of their maturity.The shape of this knife recalls the head of a bird where the cut-out triangle constitutes the eye. Its origin is perhaps linked to throwing knives common in Chad, in the middle of the River Sangha and in Upper Ubangi.

Sold € 3.198,00

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- Former Paolo Morigi collection (Lugano) (Morigi inventory label num. 447);
- Former private collection (Lugano);


- Lugano 2002, Palazzo Riva, Banca Svizzera Italiana (BSI);


Reproduced in:
- VENTURI LUCA M. “Anime antiche, arte negra, da una raccolta di sculture dell’Africa occidentale” Banca BSI, Lugano 2002, fig. 40a;

- FISCHER WERNER & ZIRNGIBL MANFRED A. "Afrikanische Waffen" Passau 1978, pag. 187, fig. 343;
- FELIX MARC LEO “Kipinga: Throwing-Blades of Central Africa” Munich 1991, pages 186 - 191;
- PERROIS LOUIS “Art ancestral du Gabon dans les collections du Musée Barbier-Mueller” Geneva 1985, pages 62, 63 and 187 (Osele, Musele, Onzil);
- ELSEN JAN “Les haches à tete d’oiseau. Société secrète et rites d’initiation”. In Arts & Cultures 2020, Geneva, pages 152-157;


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