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

Anthropomorphic Mask

Anthropomorphic Mask

Gabon, Punu, Mask, Beginning of the 20th Century, Kaolin Pigment, Height : 37 cm, 73.1964.10.2

The Okuyi masks always present a face with calm, regular, symmetrical features, which is crowned by shell braiding. The eyes are half-closed. The color white is associated with the world of the dead, which in this case is evoked by the kaolin that coats the face. In effect, the mask represents a deceased female whose smooth and harmonious features makes one think of a young girl who has returned from the land of the dead. It is at the very time that grief strikes the community that this mask is shown. As an ancestral figure that reappears in the midst of the living, it gives concrete form to contact with the world of the dead and causes social order to be re-established after the death has upset it. It comes out, mounted on stilts, and in that way is moved around and over the multitude.