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African art - Bellows:

In Central Africa, the forge bellows, often anthropomorphic, is not only a tool for the blacksmith, but also a ritual object that allows the craftsman to transform the earthy rock of the ore into a metal involved in the manufacture of weapons and tools. Each bellows is carved with an anthropomorphic symbolism, source of life.

Figure of rider Bamoun
African art > Bellows > Bamoun statue

This rider Bamoun mastering a pitched horse would represent King N'Doya in his victory over the Fulani in the 19th century. Armed with a sword carried in a sheath slung over his shoulder, he also has a sword. A dark brown leather dresses the shapes of the character and his mount, a lighter leather sheaths the hooves. The king is dressed in a canvas loincloth, the Hausa having introduced the clothing transformations in the Bamoun, he wears leather stirrups connected by a rigid wicker rod. The various decorative elements and materials form an exceptional work here. The Bamuns live in an area that is both full of wooded reliefs but also savannahs. This large territory called Grassland in southwestern Cameroon is also home to other close ethnic groups such as the Bamiléké and Tikar. ...

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Okuka Punu Forge Breath
African art > Bellows > Okuka Punu Forge Breath

This Punu anthropomorphic bellows, from the J. Putteners collection of African tribal art, is a remarkable early 20th century sculpture. Decorated with an elegant head similar to Okuyi masks, two buckets whose contours are highlighted with ropes and covered with animal skin each topped with a handful of braided leather, it extends with two nozzles reminiscent of legs. The padded top-hulled headdress extending into the nape of the neck is embellished with a collarextension around the face. Typical Punu scarifications forming checkerboard patterns are present on the forehead and temples. The coffee bean eyes seem closed, completing the expression of serenity. A rich kaolin patina covers the face with the exception of red-coloured hemmed lips, as does the headband. Apprentice blacksmiths are ...

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