Reliquary Guardian Figure

eyema-o- byeri
Exhibits: Ancestor Cult
Tribes: Fang peoples, Okak /Mekeny group
Location: Gabon / Equatorial Guinea
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Black Patina, Metal, Wood
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It is one of the most impressive figures in the corpus of the Fang reliquary sculptures.The Fang principles of "opposition and vitality" as defined by J. Fernandez are quite striking in this statue. The dense physical mass of the cylindrical torso and the strength of the supporting legs and buttocks, unparalleled in their monumentality, are contrasted with the extreme upper torso and relatively "weak" slender arms.This is balanced with a powerful impressive head with its massive mane of the coiffure, also unparalleled in its monumentality in the corpus of Fang sculptures. In addition, there is an andrognous element that one cannot ignore: a distinctive male organ,and small pedant flat breasts impying a feminine element. This enhances the impression of vitality through male-female opposition.

The feet suffer from hard erosion.      


James Fernandez, Principles of Opposition and Vitality in Fang Aesthetics,1966, p. 56; A. La Gamma, Eternal Ancestors, 2007, p.160

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