Hungwe, Mahoungoue, Ossayeba), Gabon and Congo Republic
Mahongwe are in the extreme northeast of Gabon near the Congo border. These populations
have links with the Kota and are themselves divided into subgroups. Ancestor worship
formed the core of the family groups religious and social life. At the death of a
chief, the initiates would take from the body of the deceased various relics, which then
decorated with metal and rubbed with powders of multiple magical powers. They would be
kept in baskets surmounted by reliquary figures. Although recognizably human because of
its eyes and nose, the ancestors face is severely formalistic. The Mahongwe covered
these figurines with copper or brass. At the time of initiation in the ancestor cult,
called the bwete, the clans would meet to perform communal rituals; each
clans chief would dance holding the reliquary.
Material: wood, brass or copper
sheeting and vegetable fiber
Size: H 24½, W. 7, D.