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Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary

Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary

LaGamma, Alisa, ed., with contributions by Barbara Boehm, Elias K. Bongmba, Kairn Klieman, Alisa LaGamma, Denise Patry Leidy, and Louis Perrois
368 pages
233 illustrations
American Association of Museums Award for Outstanding Exhibition Catalogue, Honorable Mention (2007)
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Director's Foreword
Philippe de Montebello

Alisa LaGamma

Lenders to the Exhibition

Map: Cultural Regions Represented by Works in the Catalogue

Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary
Alisa LaGamma

Of Ancestors and Earth Spirits: New Approaches for Interpreting Central African Politics, Religion, and Art
Kairn Klieman

The Western Historiography of African Reliquary Sculpture
Louis Perrois

Ancestor Veneration in Central Africa
Elias K. Bongmba

"To learned people this may seem to be full of superstition": Reliquary Sculpture in the Medieval Christian Tradition
Barbara Boehm

The Body Eternal: The Aesthetics of Equatorial African Reliquary Sculpture
Alisa LaGamma


Central African Reliquaries
Alisa LaGamma

Other Works

Photograph Credits

291 – Picasso-Braque Exhibition, Alfred Stieglitz  American, Platinum print
Reliquary with Contents, Schist with traces of gold leaf, Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara)
Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara)
ca. 1st–3rd century
Portrait of an Old Lady, Ruan Zude  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, China
Ngombi (arched Harp), Wood, skin, vegetable fiber, leather, Fang/Kele people
Fang/Kele people
19th century
Reliquary Bust of Saint Yrieix, Silver and gilded silver with rock crystal, gems, and glass, French
ca. 1220–40, with later grill
Rosary, Elephant ivory, silver, and partially gilded mounts, German
ca. 1500–1525
Reliquary Casket, Marble with traces of paint in modern incised decoration, Byzantine
6th century
Arm Reliquary, Silver, gilded silver, niello, and gems; wood core, South Netherlandish
South Netherlandish
ca. 1230
Virgin and Child in Majesty, Walnut with paint, tin relief on a lead white ground, and linen, French
ca. 1175–1200
Figure from a Reliquary Ensemble: Seated Female, Wood, metal, Fang peoples, Okak group
Fang peoples, Okak group
19th–early 20th century
Sculptural Bust from a Reliquary Ensemble (The Great Bieri), Fang-Betsi artist, Wood, metal, palm oil, Fang-Betsi
19th century
Reliquary: Standing Male Figure, Wood, pigment, metal, cowrie shells, Kota peoples, Mbete group
Kota peoples, Mbete group
19th century

View Citations

LaGamma, Alisa, Barbara Drake Boehm, and Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), eds. 2007. Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary. New York : New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art ; Yale University Press.