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Africa Direct

Fang Bieri Reliquary Figure in Basket Equatorial Guinea African Art

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Title Fang Bieri Reliquary Figure in Basket Equatorial Guinea African Art
Type of Object Figure, Carving, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Equatorial Guinea or Gabon
People Fang
Materials Wood, reeds, straw, Shells
Approximate Age 20th Century
Height (in) 14
Width (in) 10
Dimensions Height: 14 Inches
Width: 10 Inches
Overall Condition Poor
Damage/Repair Cracks, chips and a well worn patina

Additional Information: As some of the most powerful and best know sculptural forms emerging from Africa, Fang figures hold a prominent place in the history of African art. As reliquary guardians, Fang figures often appear as though they are slightly crouched with legs slightly bent or shown in a seated position with a narrow stick-like extension often reaching downwards from the buttocks. Often, the byeri reliquary held the bones of ancestors and were venerated through annual ceremonies at which they were present in the form of the sculptures. Photographed as early as 1907, the cult of Byeri began to lose its prominence after 1910 due to colonial government pressure. In the past, figures would often be embellished with native copper bands around arms or wrists and some would hold in front of them miniature ancestor figures or carved animal horns known as Nlakh or small cups used in byeri rituals.