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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.4184
Origin: Grasslands of Central Cameroon
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 9" (22.9cm) high x 4.625" (11.7cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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In talking about the buffalo of the grasslands, we must make reference to the king of that region. A king was appointed by his predecessor, who chose him from among his direct heirs, excluding the eldest. He would embody noble qualities of strength, perseverance, wisdom and perhaps certain super-human attributes, since he was responsible for fertility of the fields and fecundity of the women. A great responsibility indeed!

The buffalo was regarded as a figure of power, and an image of royal power which is frequently found in the decoration of works from the area. Though much like a mask this fine buffalo head was not worn, but topped a kind of bamboo cage surrounded by a tufted collar of palm fibers which concealed the head. These impressive objects would have been brought out after the first rainfall, and a ceremony was given in which the king himself would wear a mask and dance. The sheer graphic detail of this sculpture makes it seem very life-like, with its row of strong teeth, sharp horns and intense eyes, creating a powerful presence worthy of a king.
- (PF.4184)


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