Reliquary Ensemble

Mbumba Bwete
Exhibits: Ancestor Cult
Tribes: Kota peoples, Sango, Mindumu group
Location: Gabon
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Bone, Brass Nails, Brass Plaques, Brass Strips and Plates, Buttons, Copper Strips, Fabrics, Feathers, Goat Horns, Hide, Iron, Raffia Cords, Raffia Strings, Rattan, Rope, Utah Fibers, Wicker Basket, Wood

This reliquary ensemble is typical of Sango art. Their reliquary figures are called "Mbumba bwete" ancestors. This reliquary ensemble is unique for its completeness, the figure element remains integrated with the original sacra, both held within their basketry receptacle. In addition, at least 5 goats' horns, an unidentified small skull, bone fragments and several unidentified objects, all exposed, at the top of the receptacle. To the expressive face, impressive feathers were added. According to A. LaGamma, it is suggested that with the hide, the red colors of the copper and the goat’s horns, the elements of sacrifice and vitality are the focus.


A. LaGamma, Eternal Ancestors, 2007, p.248-9

 Reliquary Ensemble
 Reliquary Ensemble
 Reliquary Ensemble
 Reliquary Ensemble