Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Fang Male Reliquary Guardian Figure Gabon African Art 23 Inch

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Brand Unbranded
Title Fang Male Reliquary Guardian Figure Gabon African Art 23 Inch
Type of Object Reliquary Figure
Country of Origin Gabon, see also Cameroon 
People Fang
Materials Wood
Approximate Age 20th century
Height (in) 23
Width (in) 6.5
Depth (in) 18
Dimensions Height: 23 Inches
Overall Condition PoorMost 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, does not stand

Additional Information:

During migrations which took place in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Fang people moved to their present area becoming part of a complex overlay of population of approximately 200,000, who stretch from southern Cameroon, through Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The Fang organized their lives around the family lineage and venerated their lineage's ancestors at family shrines where memorials or reliquary boxes known as byeri, containing their bones were under the care of an elder known as the Esa. Containers made of either bark or woven basketry was surmounted by sculpted figures that guarded the remains of Fang ancestors.

Known as eyema-o-byeri these guardian figures were a point of contact for veneration of the ancestors and served to witness and validate the initiation rituals of young men. When not in actual use the sculpted figures were generally hidden from view.

Fang figures appear to be slightly crouched with legs bent in a seated position to rest on the container enabling the figures to perch on the edge of the byeri with their legs hanging over the side.


From the Collection of Robert Pearson, Denver, Colorado

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.