Kotoko Bronze

ANK 0517- 18/36   

Kotoko Bronze Equestrian Figure, Cameroon / Chad (Tchad)

This fine, small abstract bronze figure formed as a ‘horse’ with two riders found near the Lake Chad basin, along the Logone and Chan rivers, has been used by the people of Kotoko as a talisman to protect against illness – particularly against mental illness.

The form of the animal is clearly abstract, due to an uncertainty about the nature of the animal. The explanation is that in the area where the Kotoko / São people lived, huge constellations exist of fossils of dinosaurs, which the people considered had superhuman forces and which they attempted to imitate in these equestrian figures. The first figures found originate from the 2nd Century in forms of imaginative horses, camels or elephants.

The Kotoko have their settling area in the northernmost edge of Cameroon and adjacent parts of Nigeria and Tchad, counting around 100.000 people. This area is where the ancient kingdom of Sao was located, from the 6th century BCE to the 16th century CE. which ended in the 16th century, and who first mixed with the conquering Massa and finally were absorbed into the Kotoko people, which makes the Kotoko followers of the Sâo Empire.

Dimensions: H: 5 cm, L: 7 cm, W: 1 cm – weight 40 gram

Conditions: Green rusty bronze

Age: Est. after the 15th Century.

Provenance: Private Belgian collection acquired through a Brussels gallery.

Literature:  Hermann Forki : “The Influence Bornus, Mandara, Bagirmi, the Kotoko States and the Jukun-Confederation”. In addition, Pierluigi Peroni: “Kotoko Worriers”

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