Lot: 366

Reliquary figure "mbulu" or "mwete"

Gabon, Kota, Obamba or Mindumu group

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
van Offelen, Brussels, Belgium
French Private Collection, Paris
Oger & Semont, Drouot-Richelieu, Paris, 22 June 2007
Massol, Drouot, Paris, 13 May 2009, lot 161
Michael Vignold, Köln, Germany
Boris Kegel-Konietzko, Hamburg, Germany
Zemanek-Münster, Würzburg, 28 May 2011, lot 294
H: 20.3 inch 30000 EUR / 50000 EUR

wood, brass and copper sheet, metal nails and -clamps, slightly dam., cracks in the metal plating (coiffure), missing parts through insect caused damage and weathering (dimaond-shaped handle), small traces of corrosion (eyes), base. The ancestral cult forms the centre of the religious and social life within the family collective. When a patriarch died, various relics were taken from his body and were kept in wickerwork baskets with stylized figures on top. Each family clan owned such a reliquary ensemble, which were all kept in the background of the chiefs hut. At initiation rites the family clans gathered and each clan leader performed a dance holding the respective reliquary in his hands.

Perrois, Louis, Art ancestral du Gabon dans les collections du Musée Barbier-Mueller, Genf o.J., p. 191, ill. 9 Lagamma, Alisa (ed.), Eternal Ancestors, New York 2007, ill. 82