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Bamun Antelope Mask Cameroon Grasslands African Art

Product #: 128567
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Title Bamun Antelope Mask Cameroon Grasslands African Art
Type of Object Mask, headcrest
Country of Origin Cameroon
People Bamileke or Bamun, Bamum
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th Century
Dimensions Height: 28 Inches
Width: 11 Inches
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 worn surface, chips in places, hole in face

Additional Information: Animal masks of the Cameroon Grasslands are the prized possession of the "Fon," or regional leader, and are worn by dancers on top of their heads during agricultural ceremonies. Our example shows a very large head with horns, ears,  and oversize nose and open mouth.   

Large game animals with massive bodies are very often represented on the masks of Cameroon. They are associated with the king power. They were an important part of every ritual dance. They were worn has mask crest over the head.

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 Bamileke, 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.


Recommended Reading: Paul Gebauer, 1979, ART OF CAMEROON, Oregon: Portland Art Association;Tamaran Northern, 1984, THE ART OF CAMEROON, Washington D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution 

 I have examined this piece and agree with the description
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD