African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bangwa mask
Bangwa Bamileke helmet mask (N° 21487)
Majestic helmet featuring a head encased in a wide neck that forms the base of the mask. The face is surmounted by a headdress in relief bordered by a champlevé sculpted band symbolizing the cheffal cap. Grainy patina, locally flaked, colored highlights.
Within the important Bamileke people in western Cameroon, the Bangwa constitute a small kingdom composed of nine chiefdoms. The influence of the Bamileke on Bangwa statuary is notable for relatively comparable facial features and morphology.
Typical of the Bamileke country, Bangwa statues often represent fertility but also power and fighting spirit.
Located in the border region of Nigeria, Cameroon's northwestern province, the Grassland is made up of several ethnic groups: Tikar, Anyang, Widekum, Chamba, Bamoun and Bamileke . Several centralized chiefdoms, or kingdoms, based on customary associations, secret societies, are organized around the Fon who is said to have broad supernatural powers including the ability to transform himself into an animal such as the python, elephant, leopard, or buffalo.
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