Provenance: old collection in Paris,Galerie Mazarine, Jean Pierre Laprugne.
As a migrating people, the Fang had the custom of amassing the bones and skulls of their dead chieftains and important members of their community (along with magical substances) in cylindrical bark containers, instead of burying them in graves. The containers are crowned with figurative wooden sculptures, which are said to embody the guardian spirits of their family ancestors, whose remains are inside the containers; ‘the physical embodiment of the life force of their ancestors’. These ancestor shrines are known as nsek bieri (also known as nsek byeri), and the guardian figures protecting the shrines are called bieri (or eyema bieri, eyema-o-bieri or nlo bieri).
It is assumed that these shrines enabled the living to communicate with their ancestors in the spirit world through sacrificial offerings to the nsek-bieri. Bieri figures were also consulted before performing important tasks.
On the pedestal there is a label with ‘Pahuin Gabon Afrika’.
You can find a very similar figure in the book ‘Die Kunst des schwarzen Afrika’, see photo.
- Fantastic relic figure
- Indigenous object name
- "eyema o bieri "
- Ethnic group/ culture
- Fang "Okak"
- Region/ country
- Wood, brass nails
- Good condition, used with some signs of wear
- Sold with stand
- 41.5×12×0 cm