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Reliquary Figure (Bwiiti)

The Hongwe preserved the skull and certain bones as powerful relics of the deceased and kept them in containers protected by figures, such as this, which are considered to be symbolic ancestral portraits. The large size of this figure suggests that it represents a clan founder.

Hongwe peoples, Gabon
Reliquary Figure (Bwiiti)
Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood, brass
H. 23 in. (55.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.30