Regal insignia in African art from Cameroon
This Bamoun dignitary's necklace, made of bronze, has twelve motifs featuring buffalo heads, welded onto a ring. These animals are symbolically associated with power because of their fearsome nature and massive stature. When they sit, the members of the Bamoun Sultan's court council wear this distinctive sign of their function,the mbangba, which they believe helps to reinforce their prestige and ward off any evil power. Among the Bamoun, it is the fon , the head of the kingdom or chiefdom, who will offer this necklace to deserving men.
The Bamun, deeply Islamized, inhabit a region that is both full of wooded landforms but also savannahs. This large territory of the name of Grassland located in the southwest of Cameroon is also home to other nearby ethnic groups such as the Bamiléké and the Tikar.
Bamoun art is illustrated by bas-relief sculptures, featuring fights, feasts and hunts referring to the past, which adorn the doors and walls of buildings and palaces. Appearing in the 1920s, Bamoun wall art developed under the reign of Sultan Seidou, mainly in the city of Foumban .
(source: Claude Tardits)
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