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Fang of the Byeri Reliquary Head (N° 19458)

African art and funerary rites
A head with inlaid pupils, offering a heart-shaped face under a wide forehead, a rectangular mouth projecting forward, and a helmet-like headdress are some of the characteristics of the Ntumu style. This type of sculpture fulfilled the same function as the byeri statuettes. Dark oiled patina, eroded wood.
Among the Fang of Cameroon and Gabon, each family has a "Byeri", or reliquary box, in which the bones of the ancestors are kept. These boxes were kept by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". The reliquary boxes were surmounted by a statue or a head that acted as the guardian of the "byeri" boxes. These were kept in a dark corner of the box, and were meant to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the "So" society. The term Angokh means "full head of the ancestor" because they are representations of the deceased chiefs. During the festivals, the statues were separated from their boxes and carried in parade. The Fang ethnic group, established in a region stretching from Yaoundé in Cameroon to Ogooué in Gabon, never had 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 and Adventures in Equatorial Africa".  

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OriginCollectée en 1958 par Guy Mercier
EthnyFang
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood
Height25
Width15
Weight1.15 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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