200636 - Rare Traditional Tribal Used Elephant (Aka) Bamileke dress - Cameroon.
raditional Tribal Used Elefhant (Aka) Bamileke dress - Cameroon.
Hand made from cotton and beads, the size are 125 cm long.
These masks, with beads carefully embroidered onto cloth take the form of an important royal icon, the elephant, with its long trunk and large ears. The patterns on the front and back panels suggest another royal icon, the leopard.
The display of wearing these richly embellished masks and other regalia at court ceremonies was the best evidence of the wealth of a Bamileke kingdom.
The Bamileke are among the artistic elite of the Cameroon Grasslands area. They are ruled by kings, and many of their masks are for royal festivities.
This special headdress is made of bird feathers and has its own built-in self storage capacity, as the entire headdress can be turned inside out, with the feathers protected by inverted fiber cap. When not in use, the hat can be stored in this manner, protecting all but the tips of the feathers from deterioration (See pictures). This type of headdress is not limited to the Bamileke; it has long been used among the Tikar, Babanki etc. The feathers come from the type of birds widespread in the region and the most symbolic ones in the context of these cultures. They use dried feathers they put together in sewing them. They build the base with vegetable fibers.
Feathers headdresses are worn by the King (Fon) and also by other members of the palace during festivals. The most spectacular moment where the dancers wear this type of hat is during the dance of the Kuosi society, also called the elephant society. This prestigious society is lead by the members of the kingship. They are the most indicating to wear this prestigious hat also. For this hat with other form of ceremonial costume demonstrate the power and prestige of the chiefdom.
Dear customers, I want to warn you on these....anything with feathers needs to be periodically frozen. They are subject to little insects which like to eat them! We freeze them, and they arrive "pest free," but do wrap in plastic, freeze for 5 days, leave out 2 days, and freeze for another five days periodically or any time you see signs of activity!
FOR MORE INFORMATION :
See Arnoldi and Kreamer, CROWNING ACHIEVEMENTS AFRICAN ARTS OF DRESSING THE HEAD. p. 113.
See dancers of Kuosi Society wearing this kind of hat in Michel Huet THE DANCES OF AFRICA, p. 144