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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bamoun mask

Bamoun Bamileke beaded mask (N° 21522)

Productions of African art among the chiefdoms of the Grassland
. This African tribal mask , carved from dense wood, displays comely features highlighted with brightly colored glass beads. This type of Bamun mask is worn on top of the head, unlike most Bamileke facial masks. The features are usually outlined with "Pe" , a mixture of palm oil and padouk wood, a blood-red wood ,which some people smear on during ceremonial celebrations, and which, after being grated, is preserved in carved wooden containers. A linen cloth is stretched over the beard and headdress. Within the territory known as the Cameroonian Grasslands live the Tikar, Anyang, Widekum, Chamba, Bamoun and Bamileke ethnic groups. The influence of this interethnic proximity is felt in common features on art pieces, such as the tendency to depict chubby figures with bulging eyes among the Tikar, or the use of beads in use among the Bamileke. The Bamiléké , of Sudanese-Bantu origin, are famous for the artistic qualities of their beaded objects, signs of prosperity and wealth, giving the royal object the brilliance that distinguishes it from common objects. Pearls, imported from Europe, and cowrie shells from the Indian Ocean, introduced by Hausa merchants, were a currency of exchange in the 19th century within the Bamoun kingdom.
The Bamoun peasants exploit the raffia palms of their region, the Grassland in southwestern Cameroon, to the fullest to produce wine, building materials, and furniture. The masks, the beaded objects, the drawings of Njoya, the architecture of the palaces, reflect the quality and diversity of their art.


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OriginEx-collection française
Material(s)wood, perles, textile
Weight1.53 Kg
Socle inclusOptional

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