African art > Bronze > Bronze Tikar
Tikar Ritual Bell (N° 14817)
The leaders 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, aimed to magnify the role of the fon. The technique used was the cast with lost wax, the decorations varying according to the status of the recipient to whom the king wished to award a reward. The Bamoun sometimes bought works from the Tikars, who were also gifted in metalwork. From 1920, the founders no longer used exclusively for the court. Located in the border region of Nigeria, the northwestern province of Cameroon, 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 transform into an animal such as python, elephant, leopard, or buffalo. A religious leader, he is also a judge and a warlord.
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This heavy bell with a complex iconography and many decorative motifs illustrates Tikar art. A female figure surrounded by strips like a mummy, whose meaning is unknown to us, sits at the top in figure associated with motherhood. Flat faces, with exorbitant eyes, regularly protrude on the sides of the object. Concentric and spiral patterns alternate on the surface, giving this bell a remarkable refinement. Skate with golden highlights.
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