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Ambete Reliquary Figure with Mohawk Rear Cavity Gabon Africa

$190.00
Product #: 96265
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Title Ambete Reliquary Figure with Mohawk Rear Cavity Gabon Africa
Type of Object Reliquary Figure
Country of Origin Gabon
People Ambete (Mbete)
Materials wood
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 19.5 inches tall x 4 inches wide x 3.5 inches deep
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair scratches, scuffs and general wear; stands but wobbly


Additional Information: A rare example of the known form of Ambete reliquary figures, this carving exhibits all the known motifs.  The face is flat with an arched brow with rectangular eyes and mouth.  The teeth are showing, and the figure has a tall mohawk hairstyle.  His hands are rested above his belly, and a rectangular cavity is carved into his back for the storage of magical items.  The surface has a dark and varies patina which suggests significant age.

Very little is known about the Ambete. They are from an area between Gabon and the Congo river. They share an identity with the Kota people, and perhaps have picked up the reliquary cult from them. Their figures are similar to the Punu, Vuvi and especially Mitsogo. Ambete figures are used to hold the relics of clan elders who were members of men's cults devoted to hunting. The figures share in a striking manner the use of white paint to outline and emphasize the sculpted features.