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Kozo, double-headed dog
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This Kongo wooden ritual figure is in the shape of a double-headed dog, known as Kozo. These figures were made in various human and animal forms, but Kozo was especially popular. His “fur” is made from nails and sherds of metal, and on his back he carries a pack of medicines made from vegetable and mineral materials bound with clay. To instruct Kozo in a particular task a ritual specialist, the Nganga, would drive an iron blade into him with an accompanying invocation.

Among the Kongo, wild animals are associated with the dead, who are buried away from villages either in the forests or across rivers. Domesticated animals such as dogs live in villages but are used to hunt game in the forests. They are perfectly placed to mediate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Kozo’s two heads and four eyes make him particularly powerful in this role.

Kozo, double-headed dog


Kongo, from Democratic Republic of Congo, c. AD 1900.
Ht. 28 cm.



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