African, Fang peoples, Gabon
16 1/4 in. h x 3.5 w x 2.5 d
Medium or Technique
Not On View
Fang beliefs honor the preeminence of clan elders and the vital powers of those now deceased. While the muscular, blackened Fang reliquary figures are well known, this pair, carved from a light wood and bearing traces of white kaolin, is slender and sticklike. The figures probably served as protective images for a family or village near the Cameroon-Gabon border. The heart-shaped face that recurs throughout the equatorial region has, in this case, been defined by lightly incised features.
October 5, 1983, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-5878) to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)
Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel