Gothamgallery Fine African Art - Cameroon Bamum Tribal Mask For Sale
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Exceptional African Cameroon Bamum Tribal Mask
Height: 49.5 Centimeters / Width: 32 Centimeters
Early - Mid 20th Century
Stylized mask exaggerated expression striking work dark patina aged surface
US East Coast - Estimated $20.00
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Documentation of Authenticity / Any Available Provenance Will Be Included With This Piece
CONDITION Wood deterioration, worn areas, chips and age cracks, tribally repaired areas, overall condition good. Thank you and please view my other items.
BACKGROUND The Cameroon Grasslands can be divided into three smaller subgroups, one of which is the Bamum. Within the Bamum complex there are numerous smaller ethnic groups, which are loosely affiliated with one another and share many historical and political similarities while retaining separate identities. All members of this group originally came from an area to the north and migrated in various complex patterns throughout the last several centuries. Fulani traders moving steadily southwards into Cameroon forced the Bamum into their current location during the 17th century. The Bamum are also one of the first peoples in Africa to develop a writing system under the auspices of King Njoya at the end of the 19th century. Njoya was able to maintain his status as a ruler under German indirect colonial rule but was forced into exile when the French took over in 1916. The kingship has since been restored. The peoples of the Grasslands reserve the highest allegiance for their lineage ancestors. Ancestral spirits are embodied in the skulls of the deceased ancestors. The skulls are in the possession of the eldest living male in each lineage, and all members of an extended family recognize the skulls as common heritage. When a family decides to relocate, a dwelling, which must be first purified by a diviner, is built to house the skulls in the new location. Although not all of the ancestral skulls are in the possession of a family, the memories of all ancestors are honored. The spirits of ancestors whose skulls are not preserved have nowhere to reside and may as a result cause trouble for the family. To compensate when a man's skull is not preserved, a family member must undergo a ceremony in which libations are poured into the ground. Earth gathered from the site of that offering then represents the skull of the deceased. Respect is also paid to female skulls, although details about such practices are largely unrecorded. Recognizing the importance of the skull, representations of the head are found in nearly all decorated utilitarian items. Masks used in initiation and for education purposes are common. Statuary often represents the Fon, and many types of beaded objects are related to his investiture.
Painter Fred Uhlman words - Most of the artists I admired, Picasso, Modigliani, Deraini, to mention only a few, had collected African art and had been profoundly
influenced by it. Shortly afterwards I bought the Baule Fetish and the Baule bobbin which are still two of the finest pieces in my collection. It is easy to see
why I bought them and why from that moment I have never stopped collecting. The head of the bobbin or heddle - pulley which is after all only a functional
object for the purpose of weaving seemed to me then and today as beautiful as a Greek goddess. The fetish moved me as deeply as the bobbin by its silent
tragic dignity and its air of profound meditation.
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Gothamgallery Fine African Art - Cameroon Bamum Tribal Mask: $156