Elephant Masks In Cameroon

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The Cameroon Grasslands are known for their different styles of art. One significant style of art that is dedicate to royalty that is not only made for them, but helps show their supremacy among their people is royal art. Masks, such as the Elephant Mask, is used to represent kings and their power during celebrations and funeral practices. The Elephant Mask of the Cameroon people is valuable not only for their celebrations and funeral practices, but through its representation of the importance of the people and their power in society throughout its intricacy.
The Elephant Mask is made by the Cameroon people of Africa. This particular Elephant Mask is a part of the Stanely Collection found at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. The mask as
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Grasslands of Cameroon are a part of the Savanna . They divide the Grasslands then, into the Western Grassfields, Bamileke, and Bamum . The Western Grassfields is where Bali is associated . Bali is established in the Northwestern part of Cameroon where the Bamenda style is from . Although, the grassfield kingdoms are often a combination of styles from the Bamileke, Bamum and Bamenda due to migration of them over time . While researching the Elephant Mask I have found the wooden mask made by different cultures including the Bamileke and Bamenda. Bamileke have an estimated one million following this culture . They also have about ninety kingdoms . In the past, most of their work were carvings in post and shrines, but now many masks have been their prime work of art. Elephant masks are often portrayed in their work. In both the Bamenda and Bamileke their work can represent the royalty of the grasslands . I have often stated that the Cameroon people construct royal art, but what exactly does that mean? Among the Cameroonians it is common to believe in a so called divine kingship . The grasslands are dispersed into multiple kingdoms, including Bali, where the Elephant Mask originated . In these divine kingships, there are various…show more content…
Elephants are considered legends when they destroy trees by pulling them out of the ground. Fons get a prize, such as a female, for hunting elephants . Elephants are one of the idolized animals which is another reason why elephants are perfect for presenting fon since they are too . In some cases elephant tusks can even be placed on the burial site, or between the fon’s limbs as they are being laid to rest. By having these placed, they can have relations with ancestors . In Africa, funeral rituals are an important way to honor the deceased and the ancestors. In the Cameroon Grasslands they have funerals called cry-dies which the Elephant Mask performs . This celebration is particularly for a man’s death including the fon . Cry-dies are memorials services that take place after burial to remember a person’s life . At cry-dies they show all of the male’s accomplishments and what he did throughout his lifetime . These ceremonies are the fons last debut as he is laid to rest

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