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African art - Reliquaries, statues:

In Africa, reliquaries are the guardians of buried ancestors. They may hold bones or the skulls of deceased dignitaries, chiefs or warriors, which are kept in sacred concessions. Reliquaries are also receptacles, often cylindrical wicker baskets, intended for the preservation of relics, a practice that is widespread in Central Africa among the Kota, Fang and Tsogho. Some reliquaries, such as the Ambete, are statues with a receptacle placed in the back.


Kota Reliquary
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota Reliquary

Effigy of a Kota ancestor known as mbulu-ngulu, offering an oval face haloed by a flat headdress extended with pendants. The whole is plated with metal sheets engraved in repoussé. The base which would represent the arms is only partly covered with metal.
This type of figure surmounted the baskets in which the mortuary relics of high-line ancestors were stored, playing the role of guardians named ngulu.
Foot erosions.
In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used by the banganga. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. Among the Kota, these figures have reached an astonishing degree of stylization and abstraction: reduced ...


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Kota Reliquary
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota Reliquary

The warhead head flanked by a short summit growth carries cabochons pierced by a pupil on either side of a ridge showing the nose. Thin strips of copper and brass alternate on the surface mated by the sand supposed to reactivate the magical power of the reliquary. Foot eroded.
The cult of ancestors, the bwete (North Kota) was at the heart of the social and religious life of the Kota and has many analogies with that of Fang . In the exclusive presence of insiders, the clan's major decisions were made during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magical charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. In the Kota , these figures have achieved a staggering degree of stylization and abstraction: reduced to the shoulders and arms ...


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Fang Box
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Fang Box



This container has a lid topped with three stylized faces reminiscent of the guardian heads of the byeri reliquary. Three fang figures with protective virtues, arms bent, hands clasped, adorn the walls of the box. Since the reliquary boxes contain the bones of the ancestors are most often made up of bark, this wooden sculpture could also have been used as a medicine container or a box dedicated to divination. The internal walls are lined with residues of yellow ochre vegetable oil.
Geometric patterns and parallel lines are engraved on the matte surface. Desication cracks. Indigenous restorations using metal staples.
The peoples known as Fang, or "Pahouins", described as conquering warriors, invaded in successive leaps, from villages to villages, the entire vast ...


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Kota reliquary
African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

Obamba sculptural expression in African art

Kota Obamba type ancestor effigy known as mbulu-ngulu. Under a prominent forehead, the face offers two eye-cabochons pierced with nails forming the pupils. Sheets of metal, whose hammered patterns emphasize the contours, cover the sculpture.
The Mahongwe, Obamba, Shamayé and Sango form with the Kota a group with similar rites and society. It is in the eastern part of Gabon that they live among the forests. Some crossed the Congo border after going up the sources of the Ogooué. This type of figure topped the baskets in which the mortuary relics of high-line ancestors were stored, playing the role of guardians called ngulu. In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during ...


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290.00

Kota reliquary
African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

African sculpture ritual, plated with copper sheets according to the kota tradition, forming a stylized image of the ancestor, a coat of arms also for the clan, and which is generally distinguished by the shape of the headdress, variable depending on the regions. This version is distinguished by its geometric plans and volumes.
The Kota inhabit the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and some in the Republic of Congo. The blacksmith, in addition to wood carving, made tools for agricultural work as well as ritual weapons. The sculptures playing the role of "medium" between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites at bwete , comparable to those of the Fang . They are sometimes bifaces, the mbulu-viti, symbolizing the ...


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380.00

Statue Ambete
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Ambete

Statues of ancestors in the African art of Mbede, Mbete, or AmbeteThe cult of ancestors, among the Mbete, is accompanied by carved figures frequently playing the role of reliquary. This statue has a dorsal cavity blocked by a shutter. A resin remains in the trunk. The flat side offers the characteristic details: narrow, semi-closed eyelids depicted by cauris, sheltered under slanted eyebrows, a triangular nose extending from the forehead, a narrow hollowed-out mouth. The hairstyle is arranged in braids gathered in shells. The arms on the chest are folded at a right angle. Semi-flexed muscular legs, carried by large feet, evoke a ritual dance. Grainy kaolin patina, chipped, and use of burgundy brown hues.
The Mbete form a people of Gabon, on the border of Middle Congo, neighbouring ...


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Obamba Reliquary
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Obamba Reliquary

This stylized ancestor figure is of the Obamba type from Haut-Ogooué. Sheets of metal adorn the wooden structure. The domed eyes, within a concave face evoking a skull, are animated by pupils.
This type of effigy, among the Kota, had the function of keeping the mortuary relics of ancestors of high lineage, fragments of bones placed for this purpose in baskets made of wickerwork or bark.
In the exclusive presence of initiates of the bwete cult, the major decisions of the clan were made during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used.
In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. Sacrifices and offerings were then administered for the purpose of protecting the community or family from harmful forces.


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Obamba statue
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Obamba statue

Obamba sculptural expression in African art.

Kota type ancestor effigy called mbulu-ngulu, similar to the Obamba type. The concave face, from which the cabochon eyes pierce, is haloed by a headdress with side fins. The whole is plated with metal sheets engraved in repoussé. The eroded base which would represent the arms is only partly covered with metal.

This type of figure surmounted the baskets in which the mortuary relics of high-lineage ancestors were stored, playing the role of guardians called ngulu. In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used by the banganga. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand


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Ambete reliquary
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ambete reliquary

Statues of ancestors in the African art of Mbede, Mbete, or Ambete.
Ancestor worship among the Mbete is accompanied by sculpted figures frequently playing the role of reliquary. This statuette offers for this purpose a dorsal cavity encrusted with residual pink ocher pigments. The barrel-shaped morphology and the flat, stylized face, topped with a crest, are specific features of the ambete sculpture. This copy also wears braided raffia accessories, mats, choker and small loincloth.

Grainy patina, desiccation cracks.
The Mbete form a tribe of Gabon, on the border of the Middle Congo, close to the Obamba and the Pounou, whose history has been marked by a long-term conflict against the Teke. They do not have a centralized political organization, practice ancestor ...


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240.00

Kota reliquary
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

The baskets containing the relics of illustrious ancestors, generally surmounted by two reliquaries, were kept in the temples of the village. One of them embodied the founder of the lineage, and the second his descendants. Ancestor worship, the bwete (Northern Kota) was at the heart of the social and religious life of the Kota and has many analogies with that of the Fang. In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. Among the Kota, these figures have reached an astonishing degree of stylization and abstraction: reduced to shoulders and "arms" surmounted by a large face, the latter can be concave ...


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Kota reliquary
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

Elegant variant of Mbulu ngulu , plated with copper sheets according to the kota tradition, stylized image of the ancestor, coat of arms also for the clan, and which is generally distinguished by the shape of the headdress, which varies according to regions.
The Kota inhabit the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and some in the Republic of Congo. The blacksmith, in addition to wood carving, made tools for agricultural work as well as ritual weapons.
The sculptures playing the role of "medium" between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites at the bwete , comparable to those of the Fang . They are sometimes bifaces, the mbulu-viti, symbolizing the masculine and feminine aspect at the same time.


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Kota reliquary
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

This ritual sculpture, plated with copper sheets according to the kota tradition, forms a stylized image of the ancestor, a coat of arms also for the clan, and is generally distinguished by the shape of the headdress, which varies according to the region. This version has a concave face, and a rounded end extended with pendants. The almond eyes are made of bone, pierced with a nail.
The Kota inhabit the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and some in the Republic of Congo. The blacksmith, in addition to wood carving, made tools for agricultural work as well as ritual weapons.
The sculptures playing the role of "medium" between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites at the bwete , comparable to those of the ...


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Head Fang
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Head Fang

African art and funeral rites
A large head with the concave face characteristic of the Betsi style, with cabochon pupils, is topped with braids accessorized with metallic bells. Restorations were carried out using resin and metal staples. Mate crusty patina.
Fach the Fangs of Cameroon and Gabon, each family has a Byeri, or reliquary box, in which the bones of ancestors are preserved. 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 the guardian of the 'byeri' boxes. These were kept in a dark corner of the box, and were intended to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to society. So, so. The term Angokh means ...


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Kota reliquary
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

Ritual sculpture, plated with copper sheets according to the kota tradition, forming a stylized image of the ancestor, a coat of arms also for the clan, and which is generally distinguished by the shape of the headdress, which varies according to the region. This version is distinguished by its more realistic face than usual.
The Kota inhabit the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and some in the Republic of Congo. The blacksmith, in addition to wood carving, made tools for agricultural work as well as ritual weapons. The sculptures playing the role of "medium" between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites at bwete , comparable to those of the Fang . They are sometimes bifaces, the mbulu-viti, symbolizing the ...


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Kota Mbulu ngulu reliquary figure
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

The baskets containing the relics of illustrious ancestors, generally surmounted by two reliquaries, were kept in the temples of the village. One of them embodied the founder of the lineage, and the second his descendants. Ancestor worship, the bwete (Northern Kota) was at the heart of the social and religious life of the Kota and has many analogies with that of the Fang. In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. Among the Kota, these figures have reached an astounding degree of stylization and abstraction: The bulbous forehead extended by a geometric nose surmounts cabochon eyes pierced with a ...


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Kota Obamba reliquary figure
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Obamba reliquary

Sculptural expression Obamba in African art

Kota ancestor effigy known as mbulu-ngulu , its morphology is similar to the Obamba type. A concave face with a prominent forehead is surrounded by a crescent cap. The whole is plated with metal sheets engraved with repoussé. The base which would represent the arms is only partially covered with metal.
This type of figure surmounted the baskets in which were stored the mortuary relics of ancestors of high lineage, playing in a way the role of guardians called ngulu .
Erosions and cracks of the foot.
In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used by the banganga . In order to reactivate its magical ...


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Kota reliquary
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

Sculptural expression Obamba in African art

Obamba-type Kota ancestor effigy, known as mbulu-ngulu , whose uniqueness lies in the outgrowths in pastilles haloing the face. The sculpture is plated with metal sheets engraved with repoussé. The base which would represent the arms is only partially covered with metal.
This type of figure surmounted the baskets in which were stored the mortuary relics of ancestors of high lineage, playing in a way the role of guardians called ngulu .
Desiccation cracks.
In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were taken during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used by the banganga . In order to reactivate its magical charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with ...


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Fang Ntumu s ancestor figure of the Byeri
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Fang

Covered with braids gathered in three top shells, the horizontal lips forming a wide pout, this reliquary figure displays the characteristics of the Ntumu style from the regions between Gabon, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Matt oily patina, eroded areas. Lacks in the feet.
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 a 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. During ...

Figure of Fang Ntumu ancestor of the Byeri
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Fang statue

A prognathic jaw emphasizing a large pout, stocky and rounded limbs evoking the morphology of the newborn, this African sculpture illustrates the Ntumu style statuary of the regions between Gabon, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Shiny black patina, eroded areas.
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 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 ...

Bakota Reliquary Keeper
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota Reliquary

Ex-collection French African art.
The Kota of the Sebe Valley, located in Gabon but also in Congo, produced this type of sculpture that played the role of "medium" between the living and the dead and continued to watch over their descendants. They are sometimes bifaces, mbulu-viti , symbolizing the masculine and feminine aspect.
This type of coin was used in the preservation of mortuary remains of high-lineage ancestors in baskets topped with very specific sculptures, which played the role of guardians of the relics named ngulu. In the exclusive presence of insiders, the clan's major decisions were made during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. In the Kota, these ...


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Kota Sangu reliquary figure
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota reliquary

This ritual sculpture, plated with metal sheets according to Kota tradition, forms a stylized image of the ancestor, a coat of arms also for the clan, and is usually distinguished by the shape of the headdress, which varies by region. The Kota inhabit the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and some in the Republic of Congo. The blacksmith, in addition to woodcarving, made tools for agricultural work as well as ritual weapons. The sculptures playing the role of "medium" between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites to the bwete, comparable to those of the Fang . They are sometimes bifacial,the mbulu-viti, symbolizing both the masculine and feminine aspect. These types of pieces, named ngulu, acted as "guardians" of the ...





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