African art > African mask > Bamoun Mask
Beaded mask of the Bamoun (N° 18010)
African art productions among the Chiefdoms of Grassland
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This African tribal mask, carved in dense wood, displays features highlighted with polychrome glass beads. This type of masks Bamoun is worn on the top of the head, unlike most Bamileke face masks. The traits are usually highlighted from Pe- , a mixture of palm oil and padouk wood, blood-red wood, some of which are coated during rejoicing ceremonies, and which, after being grated, is kept in carved wooden containers. On this copy, however, the grainy patina adopts a dark hue.
Asland-called Grasslands live the Tikar, Anyang, Widekum, Chamba, Bamoun and Bamileke ethnic groups. The influence of this inter-ethnic proximity is felt by common traits on pieces of art, such as the tendency to represent chubby characters with globular eyes in the Tikar, or the use of pearls in use by the Bamiléké.The Bamiléké , of Sudan-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 the cauris of the Indian Ocean, introduced by the Hausa merchants, were a bargaining chip in the 19th century within the Bamoun kingdom.
The Bamoun peasants make the most of the raffia palms of their region, the Grasslands in southwestern Cameroon, 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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