Ceremonial Royal Mask. The Grassland Region is a hilly and mountainous area. The northern part of Cameroon has been Islamized and has no sculpture; on the other hand, the savannas of the west, the Grassland, are inhabited by three ethnic groups with ancestors in common and keeping old traditions. The Grassland was divided into ninety kingdoms each governed by a king, the fon. In the past, he was believed to be endowed with supernatural powers that allowed him to change into an animal an elephant, leopard, or buffalo. He ensured the protection of his people and guaranteed the fertility of the fields and the fecundity of the women. This mask tops a kind of bamboo cage surrounded by a tufted collar of palm fibers. The large masks of this type with a complex design on top were specifically used during the royal festivities held within the kings palace. Up to thirty different masks might perform in an event.
Size: H. 18½, W. 12½, D. 11