Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Mambila Guardian Figure Tadep Cameroon African Art

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $398.00 Regular Price $570.00
US Shipping
More Information
Title Mambila Guardian Figure Tadep Cameroon African Art
Type of Object Carving, figure
Country of Origin Cameroon
People Mambila
Materials Wood
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Height (in) 21
Dimensions Height: 21 Inches
Overall Condition Fair to Good. Most ofour 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 Repaired hand, old arrested bug damage especially to base, water damage

Additional Information: Like many pieces from this part of Africa, it is not really possible to know why it was made. This figure is a classic example of the Mambila sculpture. The body is very disproportiona. The square shoulders and the legs slightly bent are typical of the Mambila figures.

This is a protective ancestor known as a "Tadep" and served for the Mambila focal point of ritual activity associated with the ancestor cult. Protective figures representing ancestors are kept close by shrines, often hanging on the shrine in large, loosely woven bags. These figures, carved by local specialists, are made of raffia bamboo tree pith, or local wood. In addition to its sculptural inventiveness Mambila sculpture is also known for the painting of the raffia bamboo pith figures in bright colors, however this wood figure has not been painted.

The Mambila of Northern Nigeria are a relatively small group numbering about 25,000 living in a highland area stretching across the borders of Northern Nigeria and Cameroon. They are primarily agriculturalists whose lives are directed by the seasons and the bounty of their fields.

Recommended Reading: Tong, J.Y. 1967. "African Art in the Mambila Collection of Gilbert D. Schneider." see also 27 Tamara Northern, EXPRESSIONS OF CAMEROON ART, fig 10, p. 27