SEARCH THE HIGHLIGHTS
Advanced Search
 
Back to Collection
View Larger

Artist Name:

Bamileke Artist, Cameroon

Nationality & Life Dates:

African

Title:

Elephant Headdress

Date:

19th century

Medium:

Glass beads, wood, cloth, raffia

Dimensions:

17 1/2 inches

Credit Line:

Purchase through funds provided by patrons of the Second Annual Collectors' Evening, 2011

Accession Number:

2011.1

On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 102, African Collection
During the nineteenth century, when this work was made, elephant masks were among the most prestigious of all the masquerades performed by groups of wealthy, titled men in the small Bamileke kingdoms of the Cameroon Grassfields. The elephant, like the leopard, was a royal symbol, though both animals have long since become extinct in Cameroon. They were also considered the alter egos of Bamileke kings, who were described as having the ability to transform into either creature at will. Elephant masks were referred to as “things of money” because they were profusely ornamented with glass beads made in Venice or Czechoslovakia.



Reproduction of digital images, including downloading, is governed by copyright laws and international conventions. Please contact the Images and Rights Coordinator for information concerning permissions or to request digital photography of works in the High's collection.

Please Note: Not all permanent collection works are currently on view. Please contact the Museum concerning the on view status for a specific work if required.