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Bamileke Male on Stand Cameroon Grasslands African Art

$290.00
Product #: 91933
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Title Bamileke Male Figure on Stand Cameroon Grasslands Africa
Type of Object Carving, statue, figure
Country of Origin Cameroon
People Bamileke
Materials Wood, pigment, encrustation
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 17 inches H.
Overall Condition Fair to Poor. 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 cracks and chips in places, smoke


Additional Information: A standing male figure with crossed arms over the chest, body covered with dark encrusted patina. The figure comes from one of the Cameroon groups, most probably the Bamileke. The encrusted patina indicates the figure was receiving offerings and sacrificial materials. 


Among the Bangwa, Bamun, and Bamileke people ancestor figures, though formally stored in shrines, were also displayed outside royal huts on important occasions, and were thus prone to deterioration. The art of the grasslands area of Cameroon is a royal art, devoted to the veneration of ancestors and the enrichment of the Fon, the main chief of the individual "kingdoms." The large figures carved for and presented to the Fon, fall generally into two forms: representations of the Fon or one of his wives, and carvings of individual ancestors. These are stored in shrines and guarded by individuals appointed by the Fon. They are a representation of his power, and brought out only on special occasions. Figures like this are personal and kept by individuals and displayed in their private shrines.


The Cameroon Grasslands is a large and extremely diverse cultural area, inhabited by a large number of related peoples such as the Bamileke, Bamum, Bamenda, Tikar, Bangwa.


There are also numerous smaller groups, loosely affiliated with one another, who share 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, has made study of this area a daunting task for ethnologists, preventing the development of a "school of thought" concerning their artistic output.


Thus, the meaning of many fascinating rituals from the Grasslands will, for now, remain elusive.


Recommended Reading:


For more info, see Tamara Northern's EXPRESSIONS OF CAMEROON ART.