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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Cameroon Grasslands : Bamileke Wooden Sculpture of a Buffalo Head
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Bamileke Wooden Sculpture of a Buffalo Head - PF.4183
Origin: Grasslands of Central Cameroon
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 9.5" (24.1cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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Among the peoples of the Cameroon, art objects are considered symbols of prestige and position. A person's place in society is related to the quantity of art possessed, the materials from which they are made, and their iconographic nature. As a person ascended the social ladder, the value and quality of the art they owned also increased in proportion. Competition among sculptors was intense, for it was not a hereditary occupation and the best person got the job. The finest pieces were owned by the king (called the Fon) who guarded them carefully and would only show certain pieces on rare occasions.

It is always satisfying to find an object which an artist obviously took pleasure in creating. This charming buffalo has been given real character and animation. He appears about to charge- with his teeth exposed, ears extended and eyes flaring. Along with the elephant the buffalo was a symbol of strength and often depicted on masks. With such a graphic expression he takes our thoughts to the grasslands of Cameroon, and the exotic wildlife that roam there.
- (PF.4183)


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