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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Archive : African Art / Pair of Bangwa Royal Ivory Trumpets
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African Art / Pair of Bangwa Royal Ivory Trumpets - PF.3952
Origin: Grasslands of Central Cameroon
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 31.75" (80.6cm) high x 2.625" (6.7cm) wide
Catalogue: V19
Collection: African
Medium: Ivory

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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The art of Cameroon reflects social, economic, and religious concerns, especially relating to that of royalty, prestige, and power. The artistic renditions of social hierarchy affirm the Cameroon societies' highly stratified social order that supports centralized political institutions maintaining chieftaincies, judicial organizations, and regulatory associations.

Such hierarchical system is finely depicted in these marvelous ivory trumpets with intricate carvings of figures and symbols. These trumpets were used in royal ceremonies, possibly announcing ceremonial departure or arrival of an Oba, who is the king, and his queen. The queen is carved on the top of one trumpet and the king on the other. The detailed carvings are truly amazing. Below the carvings of the king and queen are larger carvings of their ancestors, the protectors of the village. One is seen with the queen and the other with the king. Their large facial features are majestic and bold, suiting their regal status. The realistic, fleshy depiction of the body shows the artist's fine workmanship. Below the ancestor figures is a beautiful lattice work of antelope heads with their horns. The antelope head symbolizes fertility of the earth to the ancient Bangwa. Cowrie shells represent fortune and they are carved below the symbols of fertility. Spider webs are carved below the cowrie shells and symbolize protection. The lizards symbolize maternity. To finish off these gorgeous works of art, the bottom of each trumpet is carved with flower patterns. We certainly can appreciate the trumpets' visual aesthetics and symbolism, along with the crucial cultural role that these magnificent trumpets played in the ancient community of Bangwa.
- (PF.3952)


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