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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Cameroon Grasslands : Grasslands Wooden Ngain Ceremonial Dance Mask
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Grasslands Wooden Ngain Ceremonial Dance Mask - PF.3067
Origin: Grasslands of Western Cameroon
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD

Collection: African
Medium: wood


Location: Great Britain
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Description
This type of mask from the Grasslands is found among the Tikar, Bali, Bamum and Bamileke, Bekom, Bafum, and Bamessing. They all have a king and his court as focal point. They also have secret societies which dominate social life. Membership was limited to the chiefs and elders of the village. The masks belonging to these societies have several functions within the framework of their activities and they are kept in the society's religious house. These masks have peculiar characteristics which are displayed in this mask. The large wooden mask has a round face with eyes set wide apart with accentuated, round pupils. The thick nose has broad nostrils and the mouth is open and furnished with large teeth. Sometimes the cheekbones may be pronounced, but more often we find huge, round, sometimes quite grotesque cheeks such as the cheeks of this mask. The ears are semi-circular and proturding. The most striking masks are those with a tall superstructure, such as the geometric design on this mask. This is an openwork headdress carved with diagonals. The great artistic skill displayed in this magnificent mask deserves full appreciation of the artistic tradition of the Grassland style of the Cameroon in which this mask served an important role in a significant ritual dance. - (PF.3067)

 

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