Medicine man's bag, Democratic Republic of Congo, 1870-1920

1870-1920 in Democratic Republic of Congo
M'Boio people

Medicine man's bag, containing skull bones of a much feared medicine man of the Congo, M' Boio tribe, Congolese, 1870-1920

This reliquary from the Ogowe River Basin in Gabon in Africa contains the bones and relics of a venerated ancestor who was said to be a much feared traditional healer – once referred to as a ‘medicine man’ – of the M’Boio tribe. At times of need a community might bring together all its reliquaries in the belief that their combined power would offer greater protection against an ongoing or expected danger, such as disease.


Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
bag, string, binding, hide, bones, brass, copper, handle, wood, skull
medicine man's outfits
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • ceremonial container
Wellcome Trust

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