Colors and chiefdoms in African art.
This sculpted figure ("N'Kétuok") representing a female ancestor was first carved in wood and then wrapped in a rabane cloth encrusted with imported glass beads. The character is equipped with a pipe. A hand rests on his abdomen. Beads are unstitched.
Among the Bamiléké as in other ethnic groups, works of art bear witness to the place of their owner in society. Thus, the materials and shapes of objects varied according to social status. King Bamileke, also called fon, guarantor of the fertility of the soil and the protection of his subjects, was not considered mortal. As such, his funeral was a joyous celebration, the fon merely physically retiring but still watching over his people from his new home.
Located in the border region of Nigeria, the North West province of Cameroon, the 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 who would have broad supernatural powers including that of being able to change into animals such as the python, the elephant, leopard, or buffalo.
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