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Height: 46 Centimeters
Wood, Metal Eyes
Early – Mid 20th Century
Famous stylized figure muscular form striking features dark patina
US East Coast - Estimated $15.00
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Documentation of Authenticity / Any Available Provenance Will Be Included With This Piece
CONDITION Minor wood deterioration, worn areas, large age cracks, overall condition good. Thank you and please view my other items.
BACKGROUND Fang reliquary guardian figures are among the ritual objects used by the Byeri, an association devoted to honoring ancestors in order to obtain their goodwill. These figurative sculptures were placed on top of bark boxes containing the bones of revered ancestors, such as male founders of villages and women with exceptional spiritual powers. These ancestors, the great personages of the local lineage, were called upon to assist the living in solving critical problems and in dealing with issues of importance to the village. The appearance of Fang reliquary figures varies greatly from region to region. In general, the artists who created these figures apparently were interested in depicting the ancestors through individualized features, such as hairstyle and adornment. Details of the head, including carved crests and hair extensions, refer to the plant-fiber wigs or headdresses once worn by the Fang. Men and women wore these wigs, which were elaborately ornamented with cowry shells, glass beads, buttons, and brass tacks. Many Fang reliquary statues feature adornments of brass or copper alloy, a material that signifies wealth and prestige because of its ties to long-distance trade. The shiny metal is also associated with daylight and may have been applied to the figure to strengthen its defenses against intruders of the night, when the forces of evil are thought to be stronger.
Painter Fred Uhlman words - Most of the artists I admired, Picasso, Modigliani, Deraini, to mention only a few, had collected African art and had been profoundly
influenced by it. Shortly afterwards I bought the Baule Fetish and the Baule bobbin which are still two of the finest pieces in my collection. It is easy to see
why I bought them and why from that moment I have never stopped collecting. The head of the bobbin or heddle - pulley which is after all only a functional
object for the purpose of weaving seemed to me then and today as beautiful as a Greek goddess. The fetish moved me as deeply as the bobbin by its silent
tragic dignity and its air of profound meditation.
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Gothamgallery Fine African Art - Drc Gabon Fang Byeri Figure - Mvai Style: $370