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Ambete Reliquary Figure Gabon African Art Collection

Product #: 128468
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Title Ambete Reliquary Figure Gabon African Art Collection
Type of Object Wooden carved figure
Country of Origin Gabon (Democratic Republic of Congo)
People Ambete (Mbete) or Mbamba
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 21 Inches
Width: 6 Inches
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 Damaged feet

Additonal Information: The Ambete live along the border between present day Gabon and the south eastern region of the Republic of Congo. It is an area that in the past saw great population movements and extended trade between different people resulting in shared ritual and sculptural traditions. Like their Kota speaking neighbors the Ambete make use of reliquary figures to honor and commemorate important lineage members. Most Ambete reliquary figures have a small opening at the back of the figure that would be covered by a small door to hold the bones of an ancestor. The small opening in the back of this figure has grass cloth and a metal spike in place and it was reported that a ‘note’ was found in it. 


From the Collection of Dr. Robert Pearson, Denver, Colorado

Dr. Bob Pearson began collecting African art later in his life.  He was an engineer, inveterate climber, and long-time collector of books and paintings.  Spurred by the Douglas Society at the Denver Museum of Art, and his friendship with noted collector George Heggarty, he began building an enormous, eclectic collection. His African art library grew to several hundred books.  He loved textiles and “material culture”-things which had domestic use, like spoons, cups, stools, and chairs, as well as masks and carvings.  His collection included items from more than thirty African countries, and his fine eye gave him pieces ranging from a golddust scale to huge Dogon figural ladders.  Africa Direct is honored to have been chosen to sell them.