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Fang Reliquary Byeri Miniature Gabon African Art 12 Inch

Regular Price: $165.00

Special Price: $95.00

Product #: 110030
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Title Fang Reliquary Byeri Miniature Gabon African Art 12 Inch
Type of Object Figure, carving
Country of Origin Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea
People Fang, see also Vuvi or other groups
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 12 Inches
Width: 2 Inches
Depth: 2 Inches
figure only: 11.5 x 2.5 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 scrapes, dirt


Additional Information: This male figure is carved in a Fang sculptural style; it's a miniature of the well known Byeri style.  Transitional cultural contact in the heavily forested border region between present day inhabitants often produced sculptural forms that are a hybrid as well as locally defined and difficult to categorize to any one single group such as the Fang of Gabon.  Though similar in their forms the reliquary figures fall into a number of subtly differentiated sub-styles that stretch from their core area in Gabon to southern Cameroon.  A bark container known as a byeri was normally associated to Fang figures and would hold the bones of an ancestor that were venerated during annual ceremonies at which the ancestors 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. 


This small figure standing on an altar would not have been attached to a Byeri reliquary but most probably was used during Byeri rituals.  However the figure can still be appreciated for its unique form as an example of hybrid Fang carving mixed with another stylistic influence.  Interestingly the figure appears to be a composite of human (body) and bird (head)  . The hairstyle in the back recalls hairstyles found on Fang reliquary figures.  This is a fine figure and its very uniqueness makes it an interesting sculpture that would challenge one for some time.    


Recommended Reading:


Fernandez, J.   'La statuaire Fang-Gabon', African Arts, 8, No.1, 1974.


Fernandez, J. W.  and R. L. 'Fang Reliquary Art: Its Quantities and Qualities.'  Cahiers d'etudes africaines, 15, No. 5. 1975


Perrois, L.  Statuaire fang, Paris.  1972


 Siroto, L., East of the Atlantic, West of the Congo, Art From Equatorial Africa, The Dwight and Blossom Strong Collection, Kathleen Berrin, Editor. 1995