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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Cameroon Grasslands : Bangwa Sculpture of a Dancing Queen
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Bangwa Sculpture of a Dancing Queen - PF.6137
Origin: Cameroon
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 65" (165.1cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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This large, life-size sculpture represents a dancing queen. Regal figures from the Bangwa kingdom have attracted attention in the west, and indeed, this type of figure is among the most famous in African art. Such sculptures depict the courtly entourage of the Bangwa king, including his numerous wives and attendants. This queen mother is elegantly decorated in a rich assortment of painted necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. She carries two rattles, colored blue and red, suggesting the rhythm of the music she dances to. Her dynamic pose is astounding and conveys the movement and action of her dance. Such sculptures are generally stored in a secret chamber within the palace and are only brought out for display in order to impress a visiting dignitary or to mark important ceremonies headed by the king. Most likely, the figure represents a deceased mother queen, or perhaps symbolizes many ancestor queens represented as one. The vitality of this sculpture impresses the viewer as much as the large stature. Clearly, this work was meant to impress, revealing the wealth and luxury of the king. Today, this sculpture is a greater symbol for the richness and beauty of African art and the cultures of the continent. - (PF.6137)


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