Collection

“Baboon” Mask

Baboon Mask

Bamum-Bali (Bamum-Bali), Cameroon.
Early 20th Century,
Incised Wood, Pigment, Attached Shell Decoration, Ht. 13¼".

This Bamum-Bali mask is very unusual and is atypical of the style traditionally found in masks from the region. It is thought to represent a baboon, however, the use of this animal in Bamum and Bali art is not traditional. Due to stylistic variations in art creation that can be found within this region, there can be no clear way to denote the cultural maker without further research.

The mask may actually be from the Bangwa culture that is associated culturally with the Bamum and lives in and around the region. Reflecting certain Bangwa style-characteristics, such as highly protruding teeth that are filed and then attached to the mask, this object may be an example of that culture's influence. Many of the Bangwa masks and other artifacts are created with an anthropomorphic look that results in a strange combination of features, designs, and confusion over origin.

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