Bamileke Nkoh Mask

This is a very rare mask and considered one of the most dangerous and ferocious of all Bamileke masks.

Kungang society mask

Tribe: Bamileke

Origin: Cameroon

Approx Age: Early 20th Century

Materials: wood

Dimensions cm: 31 x 22

Ref. Number: 1799

£1500.00

Description:
A great example of a rare Bamileke mask known as Nkoh, a mask which is from a secret night society called “Kungan”. These are considered one of the most dangerous and ferocious of all Bamileke masks. They are only danced on occasion of big festivities. During the performance, the mask was fixed by ropes and sprinkled with water to calm its aggressiveness. “Kungan” is a secret society, led by nine priests, responsible for healing and truth-telling.

This mask has black pigment, slanted eyes, protruding teeth and evidence of a mild old insect invasion.

Provenance: Ex- Robert Pouilloux (Zoologist/Monkeys/Africa) France. Ex- Christophe Rolley, France.

History

In the rich repertoire of masks of the Grassfields, in the small kingdoms in northwestern Cameroon, the crest and helmet masks of the ‘juju dance groups’ are frequent, whereas face masks are rare. The present face mask is one of them. According to the information supplied by the consignor, these face masks are called ‘Nkoh’ and are worn by noblemen and dignitaries of the ‘Kungan’ men’s association in the Grassfields of Cameroon, during the enthronement of a new king (or chief).

Masks of the Kungan society were worn on the face rather than on top of the head like most of the other Bamileke masks of Cameroon.

Here is a little further reading regarding the Bamileke people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamileke_people

Kungan secret society

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