African art > Mask > Bamileke Mask
Elephant mask Bamileke Mbap mteng (N° 17909)
These long masks in fabric embroidered with pearls with very rich polychromy were worn by high-ranking members in the bamileke society.
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Exhibited at the funeral of some warriors, the wearer waved his ears and simulated the charge of the elephant, an animal that this mask symbolized.
In African art, the animal kingdom has a place of choice because of its omnipresent physical proximity. Some animals have thus largely integrated the cosmogonies of many ethnic groups. The elephant is an obvious example and works that symbolize them are given royal virtues.
The Bamileke society had several initiation associations, including the mwola and komiyo, these are the societies from which the men authorized to wear these masks come from.
These elephant dance, tso, was the occasion of the elephant dance that members of the society Kuosi, Kwosi, sported impressive feathered headdresses. They were worn over a multicolored costume consisting of a large beaded mask with large circular ears, mbap mteng, a fabric cloth, ndop , adorned with monkey fur and a leopard belt. These dances took place during festive ceremonies and funerals. The Bamileke, a subgroup of a larger people also made up of the Bamoun and Tikar, are famous for their african art pieces covered with pearls, a sign of prosperity and wealth, giving the royal object the brilliance that distinguishes it from common objects.
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|Origin||Coll. française Beauduin|
|Material(s)||perles, feutrine, textile|
|Estimated dating||2ème halfxx°|
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