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Bamileke Helmet Mask

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unknown Bamileke

Bamileke Helmet Mask

20th century
Carved wood with patina

22 1/4 in. x 16 in. x 15 in. (56.52 cm x 40.64 cm x 38.1 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.3.111
Other Number(s): 90 (Neufeld Collection Number)
185 (Sotheby's Lot Number)
Geography: Africa, Cameroon, Northwestern Cameroon (The Kingdom of Bamum)
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Masks
Culture/Nationality: Bamileke, Babanki – Tungo, Cameroonian, Central African, African
Collection: Neufeld Collection

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • African - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Africa, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Babanki-Tungo - Style and culture of the African people of the same name living in the Cameroon Grassfields, relatives of the Babanki.
  • Cameroonian - Style and culture of the nation of Cameroon, lying at the junction of western and central Africa.
  • carving - The act of shaping, marking, or decorating wood, stone, or another material by cutting or incising, typically using tools such as chisels and other blades. It refers to this process as it is applied to small-scale objects or to objects that are not considered art. "Carving" may also be considered a sculpture technique that is employed in the creation of art.
  • Central African - Styles and cultures from a wide region of Africa that straddles the Equator and is drained largely by the Congo River system.
  • coronations - Ceremonies surrounding the accession to power of a sovereign, or the consort of a sovereign; typically involves bestowing a crown as an emblem of royal dignity.
  • funerals - Ceremonies or rites held in connection with the burial or cremation of the body of a deceased person.
  • helmet masks - Masks that enclose the head entirely or in part, especially those worn during African ceremonies and masquerades.
  • ritual objects - Objects used for a particular ritual activity, often as part of a ceremony.
  • wood - The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 99.3.111_BMC_f_2.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.111_BMC_r.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.111_BMC_pr.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.111_BMC_pl.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.111_BMC_f.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.111_BMC_pl_2.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.111_BMC_f.jpg

  • Owner Name: Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953
    Role: Donor
    Place: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
    Ownership End Date: 12/17/1997

  • Owner Name: Barry A. Kitnick; Gallery K
    Role: Seller
    Place: Los Angeles, California, US

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Important Tribal Art Sotheby's . New York, NY, 1989
    Figure Number: 185
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0011499.

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • Paul Gebauer, "Art of Cameroon." African Arts 4, no. 2 (Winter 1971): 25, 28, Figure Number: 7.
  • Iris Hahner-Herzog and Maria Kecskesi. African Masks: From the Barbier-Mueller Collection (Munich, Germany: Prestel, 2002), 267. Figure Number: 174
  • "Zemanek-Münster Auction House." (Accessed May 4, 2020): Record No.: 3029534.
  • "Zemanek-Münster Auction House." (Accessed May 4, 2020): Record No.: 3039604.

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Iris Hahner-Herzog and Maria Kecskesi. African Masks: From the Barbier-Mueller Collection (Munich, Germany: Prestel, 2002), 267.
  • Paul Gebauer, "Art of Cameroon." African Arts 4, no. 2 (Winter 1971): 24-80.
  • Jonathan Fine, "Selling Authenticity in the Bamum Kingdom in 1929–1930." African Arts 49, no. 2 (Summer 2016):

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Bamileke Helmet Mask |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=6/5/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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