funeral rites

Funeral rites play a privileged, not to mention primordial role in man’s relationship with what is sacred. 

Through their rich ceremonies they underline the point to which death is present and accepted in non-western societies where the deceased, who will become ancestors, are an integral part of life.

This close relationship between the living and the dead very often passes through a vast exchange system that is symbolic, spiritual and physical all at once and manifests itself through offerings and is embodied in the moulded sculpture, a sign of durability and object of memory.


  • Ceremonial Sculpture

    Ceremonial Sculpture

  • Ancestral Skull

  • Headdress Mask

  • Reliquaire zoomorphe (poisson), crâne

    Zoomorphic (fish) Reliquary, Skull

  • Funeral Effigy

  • Funeral Mannequin

  • Mourner's Mask

  • Funeral Ceremony

  • Bronze Funeral Drum

  • Funeral Statue

  • Anthropomorphic Statues

  • Anthropomorphic Mask

  • Reliquary Guardian Statuette

  • Skull Representation

  • Anthropomorphic Funeral Post

  • Female Figure

  • Funeral Bag

  • Pedestal Bowl, With Zoomorphic Decoration

  • Bowl

  • Funeral Mask

  • Funeral Urn

Reliquary Guardian Statuette

Reliquary Guardian Statuette

Haut-Ogooué, Gabon, Afrique centrale, Afrique, Kota ou Ondumbo, 19e siècle, Donateur : Attilio Pecile, Donateur : Jacques Savorgnan de Brazza, 71.1886.79.4

The Kota of Gabon practiced ancestor worship. Bones were carefully preserved in a basket made of braided fibers with a figure on top that consisted of a stylized face sculpted from wood, and which was completely covered by plates, and copper and brass wire. This image of bone relic guardians had, among other roles, that of pointing out that the world of the dead was not so far away. When there were conflicts, illnesses, or for the hunt, the bones were taken out and fed with the blood of sacrificed animals to appeal to the protection of ancestors.