Tribal art > African Statues > Mbete statue
Ambete reliquary statue (N° 20401)
The variety of reliquaries in the African art of the Mbede, Mbete, or Ambete
Ancestor worship, among the Mbete, is accompanied by these statues in which a dorsal cavity plays the role of a reliquary. This statue plated with metal leaves presents arms bent at right angles and attached to the bust. The bending of the muscular legs evokes a ritual dance. Nails form linear patterns marking certain volumes, some of which are inlaid in the mouth. Golden copper shaded patina with greenish reflections.
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The Mbete form a tribe of Gabon, on the border of the Middle Congo, neighboring the Obamba, whose history has been marked by a long conflict against the Teke. They do not have a centralized political organization, practice ancestor worship and use statues instead of traditional reliquary boxes.
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