Until recently a migratory people, the Fang relied on portable shrines to engage in communication with their illustrious dead. Cylindrical bark boxes containing the bones and other essential items of their most important ancestors were topped with guardian figures and carried from place to place. These eyima bieri were cautionary statues meant to alert observers to the powerful objects contained within; they were not conceived as portraits of the deceased. Prior to their prohibition by French colonial administrators in the early twentieth century, reliquaries were consulted before every major occasion. The Lang figure, with its elongated, tubular trunk, raised arms, clasped hands, bulging forehead and heart-shaped face, is an example of the northern Fang statuary style. Compare this sculpture to the more abstract style of the Kota reliquary figure in the Lang collection (M84-066).