Bamileke Royal Food Bowl

Previously owned by the chief of Bikom to have food served to him at the chiefdom.
Tribe: Bamileke

Origin: Bikom, Cameroon

Approx Age: 1950-60

Materials: Wood

Dimensions cm: 50 x 33 x 21

Ref. Number: knpc



A richly decorated Bamileke royal food bowl previously owned by the Bikom chiefdom. This large bowl would have contained food for the chief at his table in the chiefdom. Lizards and leopards are only carved on royal items to represent the chief/mfo/king.

Provenance: Collected by A.Gbetnkom from the Bikom Chiefdom.

Additional images


As within all cultures celebrations, ceremonies and sharing are a valuable aspect of daily life. Apart from the everyday bowls and pots that are made so to are the more impressive and visually pleasing large offering ceremonial food bowls. Ceremonies and festivals are times of sharing, indeed the offering of kola nuts is an important aspect of Western African ceremonial and ritual life and a sign of hospitability as the sharing of kola nuts are also a symbol of friendship and trust. The food bowl on this large scale are carved in a similar way by design although the motifs on the outer of the bowl may vary. One of the more regularly seen motifs is that of ‘ the spider ‘ a creature not only used a great deal within the Bamileke culture but also a motif greatly revered to. Thought to have the power of wisdom and clairvoyance. Other motifs used include leopards, human figures and heads, lizards and other subjects plus abstract designs. All of these having their own significance and meaning.

King Njoya at the Foumban festival. Festival du Nguon

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