Tribal art > African Statues > Statue Fang
Figure of reliquary keeper of the Byeri Fang (N° 19814)
Reliquary guardians in African art from Gabon.
This female figure embodies the spirit of an ancestor. This tribal sculpture, kept by the esa, the oldest man in the family, was intended for a reliquary in which the bones of ancestors were kept. Very present, the tubular element indicating the umbilicus symbolizes the filial bond.
Lumpy matt patina. Powdery ochre residue, abrasions. Underlying light wood.
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This type of object was placed in a dark corner of the hut. The relics of the most notable ancestors were kept in cylindrical bark boxes near the bed of the head of the lineage, the initiate of the family cult of the Byeri . Topped with a human effigy that affirmed their identity, they contributed to the protection of their descendants through regular sacrifices . Their function was to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the "So" society. The initiation rites , forbidden to women and children, took place under the influence of a hallucinogenic substance, the Alan , borrowed from the Pygmies. But during certain celebrations, the statues were separated from their boxes and carried in parade.
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