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Africa
Hongwe peoples, Mekambo area, Gabon
Reliquary Figure, Bwiiti
Wood, brass
H. 23 in. (55.9 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 2010.30

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.