ARTIFACTS Of THE BAMILEKE TRIBE OF CAMEROON
The ancient kingdoms of the Cameroon Grassfields are famous for their splendid artworks – thrones ornamented with precious European beads, wooden figures sculptured by unknown masters, enormous drums, finely carved jewelry made from ivory and brass, as well as fabulous masks. This book presents 150 impressive masterpieces from the courts of the Grassfield kingdoms. Historical photographs illustrate the magnificent life at the courts so enthusiastically described by the first European visitors in the late 19th century. Additional field photographs taken in recent years show that the traditions in the Grassfields are still alive and cared for today.
THE BAMILEKE MASK
Wooden statue that serves as a fertility object. Depicts a wild-faced nude male figure with profound phallus, exaggerated body features, bulging eyes and protruding tongue with a row of uneven teeth and extended abdomen. Hands held to the face. Hair made from strands of raffia and attached to the head. Natural dark stain with a light earthen patina.
BAMILEKE MASK THE BACK
the Bamun ink pot
chief of Mankon
THE BAMOUN KING
From 1884, Cameroon had been a German protectorate but during the 1914-18 World War it was divided between the British and French.
This royal leopard stool belonged to the Fon or ‘King’ of the Bali kingdom
massive imposing form, carved from a single piece of wood, the circular hollowed base supporting a frieze composed off two human figures, a
frog, a chameleon and a leopard beneath a hollowed seat supporting three over life-sized figures carved in relief, the largest, a male king figure,
wearing a loin cloth with legs splayed and holding a gourd in his right hand beneath an undulating torso and massive head, and flanked by two
smaller female figures, of similar elongated style, one holding a bowl in her lap and the other turning and carrying a calabash, the whole
decorated with intricate dynamic beadwork and cowrie shells overlying burlap cloth affixed to the wood and highlighting the shape of the figures;
fine and varied encrusted patina overall.
height 83in. 2.11m
height 15in. 38 cm
the buffalo standing with rounded feet on a hollowed circular base, the angular bent legs and abstract, dramatically sloping body supporting the
disc-shaped seat decorated around the rim with a band of raised alternating chevrons, and the large diamond-shaped head protruding to the front with
hollowed semi-lug ears beneath tapering horns; exceptionally fine deep brown-black patina.
A FINE CAMEROON, BAMILEKE, STOOL
the highly stylized leopard decorated with incised circles overall, with a curved tail and broad
back, the attenuated arms and legs perched on the circular base, the small protruding head
with jagged teeth and eyes overlaid with metal beneath the pointed ears, the whole
surmounted by a large disc-like seat with carved projections at the perimeter; fine, slightly
glossy medium brown patina.
he circular plate is supported by a frieze of ten maternity caryatids, staggered, based on a cylindrical base. very
high-power plastic legs semi-flexed, arms folded on children lying, running heads in accordance with agreements
Bamum style: oval, showing the faces of the eyes to the semi-globular hemmed edge, arched eyebrows, a nose flat
nostrils dilated, lips protruding, semi-circular ears projected in high relief. The head, hands and feet have retained
fragments of sheet metal that the plates. Very nice dark patina, deep, alternating shiny surfaces and parts scabs.
The base door, inscribed in white ink and partially cleared, the inventory number in the collection Keller: GFK 223. Under the tray
are two old labels, one marked:
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