Mahongwe African bronze statue
  • Mahongwe African bronze statue
  • Bronze in African art in Gabon

Mahongwe Bwiti Reliquary Guardian

Protection of ancestors in African tribal art

Superb and rare African bronze statue of Mahongwé origin, in Gabon, an ethnic group very close to the Kota or Bakota.

This masterful piece acted as a guardian of relics of an ancestor whose bones were located in a basket below the guardian, as seen in the attached contextual photo. Note the richness and variety of details visible on the piece. In death, the deceased were honored with more or less respect according to the affection that their descendants could have for them. It therefore happened that particularly detestable men with their entourage ended up alone, in a heap of abandoned bones, surmounted by a poorly sculpted figurine.

On the contrary, if the descendants appreciated the deceased and had the means, they could command the realization of a quality guardian. The one seen here is particularly exceptional since it is entirely made of bronze, a noble material, and demonstrates real technical mastery.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
Circa 1950
56 cm
Ethnic group
Tribal art collection Belgium

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