African art > Statues > Statue Mabea
Mabea reliquary statue (N° 16723)
The Fang ethnic group, established in a region stretching from Yaounde in Cameroon to Ogooué in Gabon, strongly influenced the Mabea of southern Cameroon, which absorbed much of their rituals such as so and ngil. The reliquary statues, carved by the Mabea , are however generally larger than those of the Fang and asked of various garments. The hairstyle is also quite distinct, divided into two hulls, unlike the crest of the Fang. This figure of female ancestor, with mahogany patina, is represented classically, hands resting on the legs half-flexed. It features tubular pearl necklaces and buckles made of cauris and coins. Very slight cracks.
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At the Fangofe of Cameroon and Gabon, each family has a "Byeri", or reliquary box, in which the bones of ancestors are preserved. These boxes were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". The reliquary boxes were topped with a statue or a head that acted as custodian of the "byi" boxes. These were kept in a dark corner of the box, and were intended to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the company "So". During the holidays, the statues were separated from their boxes and paraded, held by the posterior stalk. (Source: "Fang", Perrois)
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