Wood and pigment

Gift of John Adams and Andrew Trimingham

17.5 x 27.25 x 14.75 in

Massive face masks were owned and displayed by members of important lineage groups in the Cameroon highland kingdoms. The purpose of the mask was to reinforce the power and authority of the king, and to enhance the standing of their lineage groups. Too large to be worn, they are carried on the shoulder by the retainer. The masks represent noblemen with elaborately arched headdresses and ornate crests. Highly inflated cheeks are a trademark of the Bamum style and the abstracted spider motif of the headdress is a symbol whose use is restricted to royalty.

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