guardian figure

Fang people
Creation date
wood, pigment, fiber
9 1/4 x 4 1/4 x 4 1/2 in.
Credit line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Eiteljorg
Accession number
Currently On View In
Eiteljorg Suite of African and Oceanic Art - W304

Until about a century ago, the Fang maintained an ancestor association known as Bieri. In this association, skulls and bones of important members were kept in a wooden container with a head or figure on top. These images were both containers for these sacred bones and representatives of ancestor spirits.

Initiated men would consult these containers with images for aid and protection before important activities such as war, resettlement, marriage and travel. These figures were also used in initiation ceremonies and other ritual activities where access was forbidden to women and children.

Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

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