Reliquary Guardian Figure

Exhibits: Ancestor Cult
Tribes: Fang peoples, Ntumu group
Location: Gabon
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Brass Discs, Brass Nails, Wood

This eyema-o-byeri has a stunning face defined by sweeping curves. The coiffure is a "transverse chignon" arrangement identified by Louis Perrois as one of three distinct hairstyles featured on Byeri heads.The bottle-like torso has a protruding navel. The lower part of the body, including bent legs with curved thighs and calves, is assisted by a plinth coming out of the torso, which would have been inserted into the relic container, to be seated as the reliquary guardian. The figure is adorned with double carved bracelets on its forearms. Three rows of small perforations extend down the torso's back. The function is unknown.


Louis Perrois , Africa, The Art of a Continent, 1999, pp. 318-9.

Reliquary Guardian Figure
Reliquary Guardian Figure
Reliquary Guardian Figure