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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Archive : African Art / Grasslands Ivory Trumpet
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African Art / Grasslands Ivory Trumpet - PF.3408
Origin: Grasslands of Central Cameroon
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 52" (132.1cm) high x 3" (7.6cm) 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 this marvelous ivory trumpet with intricate carvings of figures and symbols. This trumpet was used in royal ceremonies, possibly announcing ceremonial departure or arrival of an Oba--the king. The detailed carvings that hint at the ancient Cameroon society is truly amazing. On the very top portion is the portrayal of a king wearing an elaborate headdress and holding a small object. His large facial features are majestic and bold, suiting his regal status. Under the king is a voluptuous female figure that reminds us of a mother goddess. The realistic, fleshy depiction of the body shows the artist's fine workmanship. Moreover, smaller female and male figures covering their eyes, ears and mouth stir our curiosity, wanting to somehow decipher the significance of the pictorial symbolism. The mid- section of the trumpet is decorated with carvings of patterned images of bulls' heads, lizards, large spiders, and a double-headed snake. And to finish off the gorgeous artwork, the bottom of the trumpet is enhanced with flower patterns. Although we may not understand the exact meanings of such symbols, we certainly appreciate the trumpet's visual aesthetics and its crucial cultural role in an ancient community.
- (PF.3408)


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