African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Fang
Figure of ancestor of reliquary Byeri Fang (N° 19459)
Ex-collection of French African art.
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Several variants of Fang Byeri statues make up African art.
Female figure embodying an ancestor, éyéma-o-byeri , with an object of power, surmounting a projecting umbilicus. The voluminous head is strongly eroded: the Fang used to mix grated wood with their therapeutic remedies, which they ritually took from the sculptures.
Oiled black patina.
The peoples known as the Fang, or "Pahouins", described as conquering warriors, invaded by successive leaps and bounds, from village to village, the entire vast region between the Sanaga in Cameroon and the Ogooué in Gabon, between the 18th and early 20th centuries.
Deep in their huts, in a dark and often smoky corner, the chiefs of lineages preciously stored their Byéri, the relic chests and the sculptures that "watched over" them. The daily life of the Fang had three priorities: to perpetuate their social identity, to subsist in a hostile natural environment, and to dialogue with the deceased to keep them away from the living. (Louis Perrois)
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