MAHONGWE RELIQUARY GUARDIAN 30
wood, brass / copper
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 its very nice patina, we have no reason to believe that this piece has seen tribal use.
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