Bamileke Motherhood Statue

This status is always taken care of by the queen mother of the chiefdom, it is she who takes care of women in the village.

Tribe: Bamileke

Origin: West Cameroon

Approx Age: 1940-1950

Materials: Wood, cloth, beads, cowrie shells

Dimensions cm: 88 tall (92 on the plinth)

Ref. Number: 1541


A very desirable Bamileke motherhood statue from the West region of Cameroon. A wooden statue totally covered in cowrie shells and beads. This style is comparable to those that we have been found in chiefdoms of Baham and Bajoun in the past.

Provenance: Ex Old private UK collection

Additional images


The maternity and fertility status statues are used to allow a woman to have children, this status always belongs to the queen mother of the chiefdom it is she who takes care of women in the village during this time of anxiousness, be it wanting to fall pregnant, the carrying and the birth.  

It was customary in the grasslands, the Batufam Kingdom, to be more precise, to have portrait statues carved of the new fon (king) and the wife who bore his first child. According to royal custom, the heir to the throne could not rule until he proved his fertility. The sculptures were executed within two years of the beginning of the reign and were used in the rites of installation of the successor.  Mother-and-child figures and those of kings were erected outside the palace, where they were on permanent display, protected by the roof of the verandah.

(Harter in Fry 1978, 118-22.; Harter 1986, 54).

Contact Exquisite African Art

4 + 7 =

+44 (0)1507 328026

Follow us

Subscribe to our mailing list

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This