Ancestor Figure with Reliquary Basket

Mbumba Bwete
Exhibits: Ancestor Cult
Tribes: Kota peoples, Sango, Mindumu group
Location: Gabon
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Brass Strips and Plates, Brass Tacks, Buttons, Copper Strips, Hide, Iron Rings, Raffia Cords, Raffia Strings, Skull, Unknown Relics, Wicker Basket, Wood
Price: Contact Us

This reliquary ensemble is typical of the Sango's art. Their reliquary figures are called "Mbumba bwete" ancestors, and their baskets contain fragments of bones, skulls and other paraphernalia. They are covered with brass sheets in a similar fashion to those of the Mahongwe and Kota, but their form is always smaller and more slender than those of the Kota. This reliquary ensemble is exceptionally rare in its unity. The figure element remains integrated with the original sacra, both held within their basket receptacles added. On the basket's surface, beside the Mbumba bwete figure, the sculptor added a small skull, apparently of an animal (monkey?), Its function is unknown. 


L. Perrois, Tribal Sculpture, Thames & Hudson, 1995, p.153)

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