Ancestor Figure with Reliquary Basket

Mbumba Bwete
Exhibits: Ancestor Cult
Tribes: Kota peoples, Sango, Mindumu group
Location: Gabon
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Brass Nails, Brass Strips and Plates, Buttons, Copper, Iron, Raffia Cords, Raffia Strings, Unknown Relics, Wicker Basket, Wood
Not For Sale
H: 
79.50cm
SKU: 
55

This reliquary ensemble is exceptionally rare in its completeness; the figurative element remains integrated with its original basket receptacle.  A drawing published in the narrative account of Pierre "Savorgnan de Brazza's Voyages dans Louest Africain", 1875-7, features several such reliquaries within an enclosure in the village of Pongo, along the Lower Sebe. The figure is inserted into the woven basket leaving the upper half of the lozenge stem exposed along its upper rim. The long ovoid head has a calm expression by keeping the face empty, except for the metallic band  concentrated at the center. Copper bands applied to the brass surface, horizontally across forehead and cheeks, forming the nose.The metallic circular eyes are decorated with two iron rings.It is a fine work.

Sources: 

A. LaGamma, Eternal Ancestors, 2007, p.248,fig .75

Ancestor Figure with Reliquary Basket
Ancestor Figure with Reliquary Basket
Ancestor Figure with Reliquary Basket
Ancestor Figure with Reliquary Basket