African art > Reliquaries, statues > Ambete reliquary statue
Ambete reliquary statue (N° 10717)
Former Belgian private collection of African art Jan Putteneers.
The Mbete are renowned for their statues with a back hollow intended to receive magical substances or relics of ancestors.
The forehead is massive and the eyebrow arches that underlie it overlook the lower part of the face. The eyes are small and circular. The mouth is gaping and adorned with nails.
The character has his shoulders thrown back and his arms bent, hands resting on his abdomen.
A finely crafted metal coating covers the entire room and is held with nails. The eyes are composed of cauris.
Some reliquaries sometimes have a small door to close the dorsal cavity, but this is not the case here.