African art > African bronze > Tikar Bell
Tikar Ceremonial Bell (N° 17650)
This heavy bell engraved with abundant decorative motifs illustrates Tikar art. A sphere forms the handle of the rectangular-shaped resonant case with looped edges. The gong is still present. Concentric patterns, spirals and lozenges alternate on the surface. Patine with bronze reflections.
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The chiefs of the Cameroonian Grasslands, the Fon , reputed to hold treasures of works of art, including bracelets, necklaces, statues, bells, valued the founders and sculptors in the service of the kingdom. These productions, without which the conductor lost his prestige, were intended to magnify the role of the fon. The technique used was the cast with lost wax, the decorations vary according to the status of the recipient to whom the king wished to grant a reward. The Bamouns sometimes bought works from the Tikar, who were also gifted in metalworking. From 1920 the founders no longer worked exclusively for the court. Located in the border region of Nigeria, the northwestern province of Cameroon, le 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 which would have broad supernatural powers including that of being able to turn into animals such as python, elephant, leopard, or buffalo. A religious leader, he is also a judge and warlord.
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