Tribal art > African Statues > Fang statue
Fang ancestor figure of Byeri reliquary (N° 20735)
This anthropomorphic sculpture representing a richly adorned young woman is distinguished by the quality of its modeling, its patina evoking a dark skin on which the copper ornaments form a brilliant contrast. Among the characteristics of the Ntumu style from the regions between Gabon, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea is the pouting of the prognathic jaw. The bust is pierced with a cavity in order to introduce magical elements or relics of the deceased.
Bright patina, abrasions. Local restoration with brass staples. Cracks of desiccation.
Among the Fang of Cameroon and in Gabon, each family has a "Byeri", or reliquary box, in which the bones of ancestors are kept. These boxes were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". The reliquary boxes were surmounted by a statue or a head that acted as a guardian of the "byeri" boxes. These were kept in a dark corner of the hut, and were intended to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the "So" society. During the festivals, the statues were separated from their boxes and carried in parade, held by the back stalk. The Fang ethnic group, established in a region extending from Yaoundé in Cameroon to Ogooué in Gabon, has never had a political unity. Clan cohesion was maintained through religious and judicial associations such as the so and ngil. Following his trip to the region in 1851, Paul du Chaillu drew a portrait of the Fang in his book entitled Voyages et aventures en Afrique équatoriale. His account, long considered fallacious, depicts the Fang as warlike, superstitious and anthropophagous savages. It is only later that the accuracy of his testimony will be admitted and recognized by his peers. (Source: "Fang", Perrois)
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|Origin||Collection Dt. Jean-Emmanuel Voltz|
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