Bamileke Ceremonial Spear
Ceremonial spears are not usually sharp and are of a different shape of a hunting spear, yet some hunting spears are still taken to a precession.
Origin: Grasslands, Cameroon
Approx Age: Early to mid 20th Century
Materials: Iron head and wood shaft
Dimensions cm: 176 long
Ref. Number: 1118
A nicely styled Bamileke ceremonial spear, ceremonial spears are not usually sharp and are of a different shape of a hunting spear. This is a nice old example, a little rusty but would clean up nicely with the correct restoration technique, but I like to keep the pieces as I find them. The stick shaft/handle has a very good wear patina and seems to be as old as the spearhead.
The Bamileke are part of a larger cultural area known collectively as the Cameroon Grasslands. Within the Bamileke complex, there are numerous smaller peoples who are loosely affiliated and share many similarities while retaining separate identities. The Bamileke originally came from an area to the north known as Mbam, which is today occupied by the Tikar. Fulani traders moving steadily southwards into Cameroon in the 17th century forced the southern drift of most of the Bamileke, although some elected to stay behind and live under the control of the invaders. They travelled through the area now occupied by the Bamum where many Bamileke remained and intermarried. Eventually, the majority settled in scattered villages to the south of Bamum territory.
The photo was taken by Abdel Aziz Gbetnkom at the 2018 Foumbalan festival, ceremonial spears can be seen in this photo.
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