Namji hat accompanying initiation rituals. Attached to a basketwork structure, a fertility doll, a stylized effigy draped in glass bead necklaces. Talismans in the form of leather bags and sheep horns adorn the whole. Patina of abraded use.
The dolls of the Namji or Dowayo, an animist mountain people living in northern Cameroon, represent the human body in stylized elementary forms. These African tribal dolls are carved in wood by the blacksmith, initially for the play of little girls. But these dolls are mainly used by sterile women in complex fertility rituals, the doll becoming a surrogate child that they will treat as such. In some cases the groom offered it to his future wife, the doll representing their future offspring. The decoration of the doll can also reproduce the finery of the new initiates after their period of confinement.
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