Bamileke Ngon Helmet Mask
Origin: Village ‘Bikom’ west Cameroon
Approx Age: 1970
Materials: Wood, red pigment
Dimensions cm: 34 tall x 27 wide x 30 depth
Ref. Number: 1140
A wonderful old style carved royal Bamileke Ngon / Ngoyn helmet mask, used for dancing by one of the chiefs 9 notables of the village of Bikom. Used for the funerals of the ancestors and the celebration of tradition and cultures. Dark patina and good signs of plenty of use and a red pigment through incised pattern markings and a stunning carving of the ‘nodules’ to represent the title holders hat ‘Ashetu’.
Provenance: Collected by Abdel Aziz Gbetnkom from his majesty Mgwa Chison.
Such a mask was worn on the top of the head by one of the 9 noblemen of the cheifs courts of Bikom in Cameroon and owned by the chief. Such masks appeared at ceremonies associated with funerals of the ancestors as well as other events celebrating the rulers or simply as entertainment for the king and his court. The Bamileke are among the artistic elite of the Cameroon Grassfields area. They are ruled by kings, and many of their masks are for royal festivities.
Present in all the kingdoms of Cameroonian Grassland (Bafut, Bekom, Big Babanki, Ndop, Oku, Hum, Bikom…) said masks Ngon belong to sets of masks exhibited during commemorative ceremonies in honor of the illustrious deceased.
Each set, property of a particular lineage, can comprise of more than 20 masks, usually various forms, but sometimes repetitive in appearance.
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