Mbete Art Introduction

Mbete Art

The Mbete related to the Kota, living on the border of Gabon and the Republic of Congo. The use of containers holding relics of honorable ancestors is well known practice among the Fang, Kota and other tribes of the region, usually with a reliquary figure atop the receptacle guarding the sacred bones, but the Mbete created a new genre of figurative receptacle - wooden figures called mitsitsi-na-ngoye - with an interior cavity at its core covered with a small door. Clan leaders attributed mystical power to their venerated ancestor's relics, preserved within this hollowed interior, assisting in bringing success in hunting, defense, fertility and prosperity in the community's life (A.LaGamma 2007:266-7).