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African & Oceanic Art / Fang Reliquary Guardian Figure, Okak Group, Rio Muni Region, Equatorial Guinea

Lot 106
Fang Reliquary Guardian Figure, Okak Group, Rio Muni Region, Equatorial Guinea
27 April 2022, 10:00 EDT
New York

US$150,000 - US$180,000

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Fang Reliquary Guardian Figure, Okak Group, Rio Muni Region, Equatorial Guinea

byéri
Wood with varied dark brown and black patina, metal eyes
Height 16 3/8in (41.5cm)

Provenance
Loudmer-Poulain, Paris, Arts Primitifs, 20 June 1980, Lot 320
Loudmer, Paris, Arts Primitifs, 28 June 1990, Lot 103
Galerie Yves Develon, Paris
Patrick Caput Collection, Paris
Michel Périnet Collection, Paris
Galerie Ratton-Hourdé, Paris
Private Collection, Paris
Charles-Wesley Hourdé, Paris
Galerie Éric Hertault, Paris
Private collection, France

Published
Humair, Sylviane, "Les Byéri, chefs-d'oeuvre des fang," La Gazette Drouot, no. 37, 19 October 1990, p. 119;
Expo cat.: Fang, text by Louis Perrois and Daniel Hourdé, Paris, Ratton-Hourdé, 2006, p. 65;
Expo cat.: Passeurs de Rêves, Charles-Wesley Hourdé, Paris, CWH Hourdé, 2016, pp. 24-25, cat. no. 8;
Expo cat.: Gabon 'Mémoire Ancestrale', Paris, Graphius, 2020, pp. 25-27, cat. no. 8.
Expo cat.: Parcours des Mondes - Galerie Éric Hertault (online catalogue), Paris, Galerie Éric Hertault, 2020, cat. no. 10

Exhibited
Paris, France, "Fang," Ratton-Hourdé, June 2006;
Paris, France, "Passeurs de Rêves," Parcours des Mondes, 6-11 September 2016, Charles-Wesley Hourdé;
Paris, France, "Gabon 'Mémoire Ancestrale'," Galerie Éric Hertault, 24 June - 24 July 2020

(AHDRC archives no. 0045246)

Michel Leiris notes, 'At the moment of sacrifice, the force to which the figure alludes comes temporarily to indwell the statue. The object can also be permanent support of the ancestor's vitality, as in the case of the Dogon "Great Mask." In the course of the discussion, de Heusch points out that one must distinguish between two types of 'receptacle' objects: those which are in themselves receptacles (and which therefore derive from religion) and those which have some hollow space in which some magic medicine is placed (and which therefore derive from magic). The byéri is somewhere between the two because it is a receptacle in a double sense, a statue and a reliquary, both features of it being indispensable. The statue as a symbolic evocation and as guardian of the bones contains part of the power, which is held essentially by the skulls. It is a secondary receptacle in that the vital force of the dead only indwell it when it is placed with the bones. When removed from these relics, the statue is nothing but a statue. But the byéri is also a symbol which manifests itself in the form of a language. The state actualizes the presence of the ancestors amongst the living and, to be more precise, it actualizes the presence of the founder of the clan. It is therefore the symbol of the clan itself and of its perpetuity throughout its migrations and wanderings.' (Réflexions sur la Statuare Religieuse en Afrique Noire, Rencontres Intern. de Bauaké, Paris: Le Seuil, 1965, p. 185)

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