The Fang of the region extending from Yaoundé in Cameroon to Ogooué in Gabon strongly influenced the Mabea of southern Cameroon. The latter have absorbed a large part of their rites such as the so and the ngil. The reliquary statues, sculpted by the Mabea, are however generally larger than those of the Fang and adorned with various finery. The hairstyle is also very distinct, divided into two shells, unlike the Fang crest. This figure of a female ancestor is treated according to the conventions in use, hands resting on the thighs. Its jewelry represents the copper torques and bracelets worn by dignitaries. Minor cracks. Heterogeneous, slightly grainy patina.
Among the Fang of Cameroon and Gabon, each family has a “Byeri”, or reliquary box, in which the bones of the ancestors are kept. The reliquary boxes were topped with a statue or head which acted as guardian of the “byeri” boxes. They were also used during initiation ceremonies for young people linked to the "So" society. During the festivities, the statues were separated from their boxes and carried on parade. (Source: “Fang”, Perrois)
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