Bamileke Porcupine Quill Costume

Worn by the notables of the Mfo, FO or chief for ceremonial dance in the North-West of Cameroon.

Bamileke Ceremonial costume

Tribe: Bamileke

Origin: North-West Cameroon

Approx Age: 1970-80

Materials: Woven raffia and porcupine quills

Dimensions cm: 145 long x 110 wide

Ref. Number: 1145


A full-length Bamileke porcupine quill costume, hundreds of quills stitched to a thick woven raffia type gown for ceremonial dances. The costume on the man in the photo is this exact costume. This costume is used for traditional dance ceremonies in North-West Cameroon, worn by the notables of the chief or Mfo.


In Bamileke country they used the names for the following leaders: king, mfo, FO these three names are only for leaders who are at the top of a department or district in the Bamileke country, each village has a king or a chief for each village and each village has a spoken language.

There is a large number of different Bamileke chiefs., each chief or king can have several villages he governs.

In the district of Noun, for example, the king of Bamoun has 8 districts which he governs in these districts there are the superior chiefs of 2nd degree who are the subjects of the chief who controls or governs each district, in the districts, there is the village chief after the district chief this is how the supply of the king of Bamoun is decentralised.

The chief at the head of a chiefdom has the 9 notables to help decide management

Among the notables, there is a ranking,  after the chief comes the first notables in-suite followed by the other notables of the chiefdom, this is how the chiefdom works among the Bamiléké in the grassland area.

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