Fang reliquary sculpture powerfully influenced Modernist artists who began collecting non-Western art during the early twentieth century. The Fang peoples historically derived a sense of continuity with their past and communal cohesiveness in the present through an ancestral cult known as bieri. Bieri figures, such as this, exemplify the qualities the Fang admire in people—tranquility, vitality, and the ability to hold opposites in balance. These ideals are shown in the balanced form of the figure. The dark shiny surface of this piece is the result of repeated applications of palm oil.