Reliquary Guardian Figure

eyema-o- byeri
Exhibits: Ancestor Cult
Tribes: Fang peoples, Ntumu group
Location: Gabon
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Fiber Strings, Resin, Wood
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This male reliquary figure (eyema-o-byeri) is highly characteristic of the Ntumu style. Despite its apparent simplicity of structure, it demonstrates a highly-skilled technique. It has an extremely elongated cylindrical torso – the most typical feature of the Ntumu style, and, according to L. Perrois' classification, it is in the 'longiforme' - The shoulders extend out, creating a rectilinear configuration, typical of the Ntumu style. The smooth arms are relatively frail. The thighs and calves are shortened, and a stalk that emerges from the buttocks enables the figure to attach to the reliquary basket and sit on the rim as the guardian of the sacred relics. According to L. Perrois, the exaggerated proportions were intended to give symbolic emphasis to important parts of the body, for example, the large head as the seat of wisdom and vitality, the protruding navel – a reminder of the link between humans and the dead ancestors from generation to generation,


L. Perrois, La Statuary Fan, Gabon, 1972, p.73: L. Perrois, Fang, 2006, pp. 36-7

  Reliquary Guardian Figure
  Reliquary Guardian Figure
  Reliquary Guardian Figure
  Reliquary Guardian Figure