Male Figure

20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Gabon


16 1/4 in. h x 3.5 w x 2.5 d

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, pigments

Not On View


Africa and Oceania



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)

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel