African art > Reliquary > Ambete reliquaries

Couple of relic statues Ambete, Mbete (N° 17462)

The variety of reliquaries in the African art of Mbete, Ambete .
The Mbete are known for their antropomorphic statues participating in the cult of ancestors on which a reliquary has been built. Their cylindrical abdomen contains, on the back, a cavity sealed by a door in which were preserved small bones of the ancestors of lineage. The diamond face under a crenellated hairstyle depicting the braids has pupils indicated by beads. Attached to the bust, the arms are classically folded at right angles on a trunk that sports a red ochre patina usually extracted from a crushed bark on which remains kaolin. The legs are hidden under a thick raffia loincloth. Desication cracks.

The Mbete are a people from neighbouring Gabon of the Obamba, whose history has been marked by a long-running conflict against the Teke. They do not have a centralized political organization, practice the worship of ancestors and use statues instead of classical reliquary boxes.  

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OriginCollection belge Lenoir
EthnyAmbete
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood, raphia, perles
Height50
Width22
Weight3.70 Kg
Estimated datingmid xxe

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