Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Tracey Michael Lewis
Living primarily in the African countries of Gabon, Guinea, and Cameroon, the Fang ethnic group is a Bantu-speaking people whose religious traditions, although monotheistic in form, are deeply rooted in the honoring and veneration of the ancestors. The Fang people often keep the bones and skulls of their ancestors because they believe that these skeletal remnants still hold power—power that is viewed as sacred and influential in the issues faced by the people in daily life. Additionally, the wooden sculptures, masks, and carvings created by the Fang and often sold as exotic art are actually artifacts that are created to be the guardians of the ancestors' remains. They ultimately act as an intermediary between the people and the ancestors whose protection they guarantee. These ancestors are believed to exercise as much or more power in their spiritual form as they might have in their natural lives, particularly if they died ...