African art > Statues > Statue Fang
A reliquary statue of the Three-headed Byeri Fang (N° 17958)
This sculpture, intended to be marked in a basket-reliquaire by the posterior peduncle, depicts a three-headed figure, embodying an ancestor, wearing a basket hood and wearing a large bouquet of feathers. The stocky and muscular limbs are tied with wicker. The eyes are composed of copper, evoking the absorption of hallucinogenic plants associated with the cult of byeri. Brilliant black brown patina, the statues being regularly anointed with palm oil and copal resin before each ritual.
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br-The boxes containing the relics of illustrious ancestors (their skulls above all else) were kept by the oldest man in the village, the esa. Surmounted by a statue or head that acted as the guardian of the 'byeri' boxes, they were stored in a dark corner of the box, supposed to divert evil influences to someone else. Samples were also taken from the figures for therapeutic purposes. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to society. So and as part of the Melanic rites. During the holidays, the statues were separated from their boxes and paraded.
The peoples known as Fang, or Pahouins, described as conquering warriors, invaded by successive leaps, from villages to villages, the entire region between the Sanaga in Cameroon and the Ogooué in Gabon, between the 18th and the beginning of the twentieth century. At the bottom of their boxes, in a dark and often smoky nook, the heads of lineages preciously stored their Byéri, the relic chests and the sculptures that undersaw 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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|Material(s)||wood, vannerie, metal, plumes|
|Estimated dating||2ème halfxx°|
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