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210335 - Rare & Old Tribal used African headdress Mambila mask - Cameroon.

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Old Tribal used African african headdress mask from the Mambila, Cameroon.

This type of mask is used in initiation ceremonies.

Hand carved from a single piece of wood, with color pigments.

Size: 53 cm long.

The Mambilla or Mambila people of Nigeria live on the Mambilla plateau (in 'Sardauna' local government area of Taraba State in Nigeria). A small fraction of Mambilla migrants left the Mambilla Plateau for the Ndom Plain (also known as the Tikar Plain) on the Cameroon side of the international border as well as in a couple of small villages, such as New Namba, further north towards the towns of Gashaka and Banyo. The preferred ethnonym is spelt Mambila in Cameroon and Mambilla in Nigeria. "Norr" is also used (the word for person in Nigerian dialects of Mambilla) (Bami-Yuno, ms).

The Mambilla / Mambila people of Nigeria and Cameroon regard themselves as a group with a common identity. They are the denizens of the Mambilla Region, and have been in their homeland for upwards of 4,000 years (Zeitlyn & Connell, 2003). In Nigerian dialects they refer to themselves as 'Norr' (the people) while in Cameroon there is a collective noun 'Ba' that is used in the unmarked sense to refer to the Mambilla, and also to refer to Mambilla in Cameroon on the Ndom or northern Tikar plain (see below) contrastively with neighbouring Mambilla on the highlands of the Mambilla plateau who can be referred to as "Bo ba bo". The populations of different Mambilla villages speak different dialects of Mambilla or closely related Mambiloid languages. They also share a set of closely related cultural practices, in particular a conjunction of masquerade and oath-taking called "suu", "shua", "sua" or "shuaga". In the Somie (Ndiba) dialect this is phonetically written as [ʃwaɣa]. See discussion in "Sua in Somie" cited below. A locally written French language historical source for Somie history is Zeitlyn Mial & Mbe 2000.
The Mambila language is a congeries of dialects and related languages. The SIL Ethnologue database gives two codes MCU for the Cameroonian dialects and MZK for the Nigerian dialects. See the survey work of Bruce Connell on the VIMS website cited below, and the article on Mambiloid languages. The Common Mambilla or Tungbo Dialect is the most widely understood Mambila dialect in Nigeria. It is also the literary language of Mambilla for the vast majority who inhabit the Mambilla Plateau. The Mambila New Testament known as 'Li Fa' and several Mambilla Language study texts are written in the Common Mambilla dialect for Nigeria. A New Testament in Ju Ba is also available for speakers of Cameroonian dialects.