Collections: Arts of Africa: Reliquary Guardian Figure (Eyema-o-Byeri)

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: William Rush Carving His Allegorical Figure of the Schuylkill River

This is one of several paintings In which Thomas Eakins provided an imaginary glimpse of the Philadelphia sculptor William Rush carving The ...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Sculpture of Erotic Group

    Despite the overtly sexual imagery, this composition has important religious content. The procreative union recalls the birth of Horus after...

     

    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.

    close

    51.3_PS1.jpg 51.3_back_SL4.jpg 51.3_left_SL4.jpg 51.3_right_SL4.jpg 51.3_threequarter_SL1.jpg CUR.51.3_print_threequarter_bw.jpg 51.3_back_acetate_bw.jpg 51.3_front_acetate_bw.jpg 51.3_threequarter_left_acetate_bw.jpg 51.3_threequarter_right_acetate_bw.jpg 51.3_front_SL1.jpg CUR.51.3_print_side1_bw.jpg CUR.51.3_print_side2_bw.jpg

    Reliquary Guardian Figure (Eyema-o-Byeri)

    ART OF THE BODY
    These five artworks from throughout the African continent display the range of approaches artists have taken to figural representation. They prove that the Western tradition of naturalism— depicting the body precisely as observed in life—is not even remotely the only possibility open to an artist.

    The Mossi mask celebrates the female form. While it is not an exact replica of the body, the proportions are relatively balanced. The Yoruba tapper, used with a board to draw images during divinations, was carved with more exaggerated proportions, partly in order to contain it within the functional form of a tapper and the shape of the ivory from which it was carved.

    The Fang figure, a masterpiece by a known artist or workshop, has primarily been reduced to a series of basic shapes—cylinders and circles. The legs and hips are conceived as the intersection of two perpendicular cylinders, echoing the cylindrical reliquary box on which the figure sat. The small Nsapo-Nsapo work and the Chamba figure take the abstraction of the human form even further by greatly exaggerating the proportions. The Nsapo-Nsapo example's stretched arms and the Chamba sculpture's outsized hands suggest different emotional states for these two protective figures—a tense anxiety, perhaps, in one and a lumbering aggression in the other.

    This text refers to these objects: ' 51.3; 80.100; 2005.13; 2011.4.1; 2011.31.1

    • Artist: Master of Ntem
    • Culture: Fang (Mvai subgroup)
    • Medium: Wood, iron
    • Place Made: Gabon
    • Dates: mid-18th to mid-19th century
    • Dimensions: 23 x 5 7/8 x 5 in. (58.4 x 14.9 x 12.7 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Arts of Africa
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in Double Take Installation, East Gallery, 1st Floor
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 51.3
    • Credit Line: Frank L. Babbott Fund
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Master of Ntem. Reliquary Guardian Figure (Eyema-o-Byeri), mid-18th to mid-19th century. Wood, iron, 23 x 5 7/8 x 5 in. (58.4 x 14.9 x 12.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 51.3. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 51.3_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    • Catalogue Description: The object is a male ancestor figure carved from a single piece of wood wearing a thick copper alloy necklace. The figure was probably attached to a skull basket that was used in connection with ancestor worship. The object is in fair condition. It has several deep splits. One particular split runs from the left side of the buttock, up the spine, over the head, and into the forehead. There in another deep split on the back side of the head. The front half of the proper right foot is missing. From an unknown cause, dry-rot settled on the bottom of the figure under the seat. The original surface is gone leaving a concave depression. The object was fumigated with carbon tetrachloride; the hole was filled with gesso, retouched, and waxed.
    • Record Completeness: Best (91%)
    advanced 108,205 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."




    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.