African art > Puppets, dolls > Head Boulou
Marotte monkey Bulu, Boulou (N° 14775)
Ex-collection Swiss tribal art.
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Ngil's marottes in African art
This handlescephalmorphic marotte embodies the spirit of an anthropoid monkey, with deep orbits under a skull in a cap. The neck could then be lined with cloth, raffia, and the groundhog came alive to the sound of the drum. At the top, wood was discreetly removed and replaced to introduce a magical ritual charge. The irregular surface has burgundy brown satin areas. Greenish residual pigments around the eyes.
Situated between Cameroon and Gabon, in the equatorial forest, the Boulou are part of the Fang ensemble. Neighbouring Kweles also have a mask featuring a gorilla called Gong. Like the Fangs of South Cameroon famous for their large white masks, the Boulou practiced the Ngil ritual to combat witchcraft and poisoning. Ngi is the gorilla, a fearsome animal to which the applicant identifies after his acceptance into the secret society.
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