Bangwa Food Bowl
Approx Age: Later 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 22 (tall) x 31 (diameter)
Ref. Number: 1144
Bangwa food bowl used for ceremonies within the nobleman / chiefs seating area for containing, making and eating predominantly dry food such as peppers, cola nut etc.. Carved from a single piece of wood, carefully hollowed out into a bowl shape, the head is of a typical Bangwa style, has been carved out at one end, and a tail at the other, acting as handle with which to hold and offer food from. The spider motif, a representation of wisdom, has also been carved on both sides adding to the splendour of this bowl. This bowl was collected from a Bangwa chiefdom, northwestern region of Cameroon.
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.
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