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3879Re: Re : [African_Arts] Help me identify my head

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  • Lee Rubinstein
    Mar 1 10:57 AM
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      Although I cannot identify specifically or assess the degree of relationship of your "head" to other masks and headdresses arising from Cameroon Grasslands traditions, I believe that an exploration of Bamiléké Kuosi (Elephant Society) masks is a good starting point to determine likely points of origin and/or inspiration for your "head".  Another example (the first, linked above, is from the Dayton Institute of Arts) can be seen in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum here.  Admittedly, these are far more complex and detailed examples but I think they offer good points of departure both for comparison and appreciation.  An additional example which seems to display some of the characteristics of that which you have presented and could be seemingly positioned in a continuum between yours and the more elaborate examples presented above is this cloth mask in the Israel Museum.  For related examples of beaded head adornments from the Grasslands region, you may also wish to peruse Images 2, 3, 4 and 8 of the Bamum and Bamileke selections from "African Beaded Art:  Power and Adornment," a 2008 exhibition curated by John Pemberton III at the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, MA.  (Apropos of another relatively recent discussion topic, among the other African beadwork traditions presented, the Yoruba selections include some quite spectacular works as well.)

      Drawing from recent discussions... another intriguing work that is worthy of an extended glance is the Atwonzen (Trophy Head) from the Menil Collection (at the link to the collection which Jason mentioned a week ago).  Unfortunately, the Atwonzen is a class of objects of which there are few known examples and for which there is very limited published material on the history or significance.  Still, it is worth contemplating and further exploring the possible relationship of cloth variants such as yours and those already mentioned to these beaded heads constructed atop a more rigid, wooden base;  another related example -- also on a wooden base -- is at quai Branly in Paris:

      QB N° inventaire : 73.1992.0.49


      On Mar 1, 2009, at 12:33 PM, renaud riley wrote:

      It doesn t answer to any typologic known tribe, but it might be somewhere in Cameroun, it might be also a pure creation, not difficult to do. Probably last option.

      --- En date de : Dim 1.3.09, cmichel73 <cmichel73@yahoo. com> a écrit :

      > De: cmichel73 <cmichel73@yahoo. com>
      > Objet: [African_Arts] Help me identify my head
      > À: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
      > Date: Dimanche 1 Mars 2009, 1h44
      > I recently bought this artifact at an auction. I was very
      > drawn to it
      > and fell in love with it when I saw it, so I bought it. The
      > problem is
      > I have no idea how to research it or how to care for it.
      > A friend of mine, who is an artist, suggested I try posting
      > my
      > pictures here to see if anyone can help me begin to
      > research it's
      > origins.
      > I sort of feel silly posting this without having any
      > background on my
      > head, but it's worth a shot. haha.
      > Thank you so much for your help and suggestions.
      > Pictures are posted here:
      > http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ album/534510895/ pic/list

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