MAHONGWE RELIQUARY GUARDIAN 14
wood, brass / copper, 19", Gabon
Figures like these were mounted on containers holding relics of important clan ancestors, serving as guardians. The Mahongwe are a subgroup of the Bakota, who, like the nearby Fang, also make reliquary guardians. Sheathed in metal (brass or copper strips and wire), the figures are highly abstracted. They are dedicated to Bwitti, the spirit of the ancestors.
In spite of their very nice patina, we have no reason to believe that these pieces have seen tribal use.
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