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Ancestral guardian figure, from container for ancestral bones

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from Samika area of Gabon, Africa

Ancestral guardian figure, from container for ancestral bones
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This figure was used by the Fang people of Gabon to guard a container in which the bones of prominent ancestors were kept. These sacred reliquaries were kept in special shrines, and the spirits of the ancestors would be called up during special ceremony.

The figure is carved from a single piece of wood. It shows a naked female figure with a jutting mouth and hands clasped in front of her.

Reliquary boxes and baskets containing bones from important ancestors were used by various inhabitants of Gabon and nearby areas. The ancestors were consulted when their advice was needed, and various offerings were made.

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