“Reliquary figure” of the Bwete devoid of its charge. Cut according to traditional conventions, it stands out thanks to its geometric head with a flat face framed by protruding ears, perched on a long neck lined with copper spirals.
Lustrous patina, erosions and desiccation cracks.
Among the Shira-Punu group, the Massango, Mashango, Sango, Sangu, established themselves on the Chaillu massif in Gabon and in the province of Ngounié. The use of baskets and also reliquary packages with bones of the deceased, on which sculptures of this type were enthroned, was widespread throughout Gabon, among the Fang, the Kota, but also the Mitsogho and the Massango, among whom this cult takes the name of Bumba, Mbumba.
The sculptures playing the role of "medium" between the living and the dead who watched over their descendants, were associated with bwete rites among the Kota, comparable to those of the Fang. In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate its magical charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand.
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