African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bamileke statue

Bamileke statue (N° 21128)

Color and chieftaincy in African tribal art from the Grassland regions.
This ancestor statuette was carved in wood and then covered with a rabane cloth inlaid with imported multicolored beads. An ancient barter currency and symbol of wealth, beads are widely used in the royal art of the Grassland chieftainships.
Among the Bamiléké as in other ethnic groups, art objects testified to their owner's place in society. Thus, the materials and forms of the objects varied according to social status. The king Bamiléké , also called fon, guarantor of the fertility of the soil and the protection of his subjects, was not considered mortal. Because of this, his funeral was a joyous celebration, with the fon simply physically retiring but still watching over his people from his new home. Located in the Nigerian border region, Cameroon's Northwestern province, the Grassland is made up of several ethnicities: Tikar, Anyang, Widekum, Chamba, Bamoun and Bamileke . Several centralized chiefdoms, or kingdoms, based on customary associations, secret societies, are organized around the Fon who is said to have broad supernatural powers including the ability to transform himself into an animal such as the python, elephant, leopard, or buffalo.  

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OriginRécoltée in-situ 1995
Material(s)wood, perles, textile
Height cm40
Width15 cm
Weight1.00 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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