Bamum Tu-Ngünga Mask

This helmet mask is part of an elaborate ritual invented by King Njoya

Bamum Tu-Ngünga mask

Tribe: Bamum/Bamoun

Origin: Massagam Chiefdom, Cameroon

Exact Age: 1945 (75 years old) as of February 2020

Materials: Wood, raffia

Dimensions cm: 45 tall x 25.5 wide

Ref. Number: 1651


An old and rare Bamum Tu-Ngünga mask, this special society makes use of the tu ngünga (also called tugunga, tungunga and also tou guegua, meaning ‘head for the dance’; tu meaning ‘head’, ngunga meaning ‘dance’) headdress during the funerals of deceased Nsorro members, fons and other members of royalty.

Provenance: Collected more than 26 years ago from Massagam Chiefdom, a 2nd-degree Chiefdom by A.A.Gbetnkom.


This helmet mask is part of an elaborate ritual invented by King Njoya who ruled for a long time over the Bamoun people of Cameroon from 1875 to 1933 the Palatouen dance of the name of Malatouen was introduced in 1910 during the events cancelled organized by the king in Foumban in order to strengthen both its popularity and its power over the Bamoun people.

The headdresses are also danced during community festivals and annual nja harvest celebrations. Used to invoke images of deceased chiefs and their wives, tu ngünga masquerades always dance in male / female pairs with the male headdress represented wearing a Bamum prestige cap and the female headdress represented with an elegant female coiffure.

Bamum Dancers

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