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Bamileke Mask with Human Hair Cameroon African Art

Regular Price: $250.00

Special Price: $150.00

Product #: 103801
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Title Bamileke Mask with Human Hair Cameroon African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Cameroon
People Bamileke
Materials Wood, hair (presumably human), feathers, encrustation, seed pods
Approximate Age second half 20th Century
Dimensions Height: 15 Inches
Width: 12 Inches
Depth: 5.5 Inches
35 inches tall with tail
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair cracked in a few places. thick encrustation, scrapes and dirt

Additional Information:

An impressive mask representing a male characters by its headdress and beard. Head and chin are decorated with bleached curly hair, likely human hair.  The Bamileke are among the artistic elite of the Cameroon Grasslands area. They are ruled by kings, and many of their masks are for royal festivities. Masks like this one belonged to the regulatory society, (Kwifoyn). They are identified as  leader masks , Nkang, Nkam, Akam, lead a group of masks,  and use two staffs to punish. Nkang symbolizes male authority and strength. Nkang masks was used at funerals of important members of the society, during seasonal annual festivals and  to entertain the community.

The art of the grasslands area of Cameroon is a royal art, devoted to the veneration of ancestors and the enrichment of the Fon, or main chief. The Cameroon Grasslands is a large and extremely diverse cultural area, inhabited by a large number of related peoples. The main groups are the Bamilike, Bamum, and Bamenda Tikar. The Bamileke are one of the artistically elite groups of the Cameroon Grasslands, along with the Bamun and the Bamenda Tikar. These groups produce an array of beautiful and unique objects, which are used almost exclusively by the royal courts of the regional Fon. There are also numerous, still-smaller groups, which are loosely affiliated with one another and share many historical and political similarities. All of these groups originally came from an area to the north, scattering in complex patterns during the last several centuries. Fulani traders moving steadily southwards into Cameroon during the 17th century forced the southern movement of most of the current residents. The dense forests, though now disappearing, and the scattered nature of the many tiny villages, have made the study of this area a daunting task for ethnologists, and has prevented the development of a "school of thought" concerning their artistic output.

For similar examples see Tamara Nortthern, Expressions of Cameroon Art.