Female Reliquary Figure

eyema-o- byeri
Exhibits: Ancestor Cult
Tribes: Fang peoples, Ngumba group
Location: Southern Cameroon
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Brass Nails, Cords, Leather, Wood

This reliquary statue is essentially of the Ngumba style with some Betsi influence, notably the head. Its face is concave and heart-shaped with a protruding jaw, whereas the Ngumba face is full and round. The mouth, however, is in typical Ngumba style - rectangular in shape with its thick lips thrust forward and slightly open to reveal pointed teeth. The headdress is a flat helmet with three thick, flat, stylized plaits (ekuma) and a drilled hole at the base. A small stalk near the buttocks allowed for placement on top of the byeri box. The presence of cords suggests that this byeri statue was probably used as a puppet during Malan rites, when young initiates were shown the skulls of the byeri.


L. Perrois, Fang, 2006, p.35.

Female Reliquary Figure
Female Reliquary Figure
Female Reliquary Figure
Female Reliquary Figure