African art > African Reliquary > Statue Fang
Fang of the Byeri Reliquary Keeper (N° 19209)
The African art of the worship of Byeri is illustrated by various anthropomorphic sculptures acting as "garde" and embodying the ancestor. The boxes containing the relics of illustrious ancestors were kept by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". Surmounted by a statue or head that acted as the guardian of the boxes "byeri", they were stored in a dark corner of the box, supposed to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the society " So". During the holidays, the statues were separated from their boxes and paraded. Pre-events were carried out on some statues for therapeutic purposes.
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This statuette was intended to be in a basket-reliquaire by the posterior peduncle. Glossy dark patina.
The people known as Fang, or " Pahouins", described as conquering warriors, invaded by successive leaps, from villages to villages, the vast region between the Sanaga in Cameroon and the Ogooué in Gabon, between the 18th and the beginning of the twentieth century.
In the depths of their huts, in a dark and often smoky nook, the heads of lineages preciously stored their Byéri, the relic chests and the sculptures that "survement them, " The daily life of the Fang had three priorities: perpetuating social identity, living in a hostile natural environment, and dialogue with the deceased to keep them away from the living. (Louis Perrois)
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