M6M8S642.jpg (42634 bytes)M6M8S642S.jpg (40033 bytes)Mambila (Mambilla), Cameroon & Nigeria

Ancestor spirit figure (tadep). Some 25,000 Mambila, farmers and stockbreeders, occupy the region bordering Cameroon and Nigeria, to the north of Grassland. They are organized into villages without a centralized hierarchical structure. The Mambila believe that ancestor spirits must intercede to secure the well-being of the living, who do not address to Supreme Being directly. They practice the ancestor cult that gives rise to sculptures in wood and terracotta. The Mambila are famous for the originality of their sculpture. Their tadep figures are characterized by a heart-shaped face, enlarged head, outlined with wooden pegs. They are thought to embody ancestors who are responsible for the clan’s wealth. The tadep figures were used in healing rites and to deter thieves. Some sources also link them to the promotion of fertility. The wide range of uses to which such a figure may have been employed was probably determined by the “medicines” in the possession of the owner, and how it was activated, rather than by specific stylistic characteristics of the sculpture itself.

Material: wood

Size: 20”x 7”x 6”