220914 - Terracotta African Mambila statue - Cameroon.


Old African Terracotta statue from the Mambila, Cameroon.

This type of statues is used in initiation ceremonies.

Beautiful Mambila pottery from Cameroon. The mouth of the figurine is half-open. The character is anthropomorphic. The style is interesting. Please also note the tones of the coloured pigments. The pottery is in good condition, without crack. Around 1950.

This is a very finely crafted terracotta vessel hand made by a Potter among the Mambila peoples of Southern Nigeria / Northern Cameroon ( The Tikar Plain) Africa. This vessel measures 30 cm tall. Very Little is written about these highly decorative clay pots. This vessel features a wide open mouth spout of a ancestor head with tall crest, as well as a most charming ancestor crawling down the vessel front. The entire vessel features the raised dots that so many Mambila pots feature. This is related to the " Ga’anda Cult" and the shrines where these vessels were often placed. According to the mambila religious beliefs " Mbirhlen’nda" is the spirit, regarded as best able to protect and sustain health and prosperity. The dense application of small clay pellets on mbirhlen’nda may be sculptural equivalents of the rows of raises “dots” resulting from scarification incisions. However they may more literally refer to the skin diseases the spirit is said to inflict on those who disobey codes of Ga’anda behaviour and morality. The Mambila people in Cameroon create highly detailed, expressive vessels that appear as figurative sculptures that also function as containers made to be filled with substances such as water, food or medicine. In addition, they could also be filled with spiritual elements such as souls, life energy or healing powers, suggesting they have symbolic status. They have also been described as “soul vessels.” In this regard, they may be related to ancestor veneration.