Does anyone have any information about these sculptures?

Discussion in 'Tribal Art' started by GX40, Sep 19, 2021.

  1. GX40

    GX40 New Member

    thank you, the Kings Palace is not as you think about the Kings and Queen's in Western Worlds. The King is called the 'Fon' and there are lots and lots of them in Cameroon. It is not the fon who approves things, it is actually the elders, who go off the views of the village. The Fon rubber stamps everything in accordance with how everyone wants to do it.

    Yes everything is above board, they were keen to take my money for their water project and also they were struggling with health issues re COVID. I bought them directly from the village and spoke to the Fon himself and his elders who agreed the deal.

    Ask any questions, ask away as I have nothing to hide. I have a receipt with a signature, they are legitimately mine. It took a good 2 or 3 weeks for them to arrive in the UK as they had to transport them to Douala and then go through the fumigation process etc to make sure the wood didn't have any nasties in them to bring to the UK.

    When you say, 'have them authenticated by a proper authority' - who exactly is that? Do you know?

    Many thanks!
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  2. Boland

    Boland Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that explanation. No worries. Those were just the questions I would have asked myself ( if they were
    mine and especially if I didn’t setup the original deal) I really do wish you the best of luck with these and hope it all works out.

    Some other and more knowledgeable members will know better as to where to take these. Im not based in the UK so it’s difficult for me to say. But I would probably start with one of renowned large auction houses (as was already mentioned) and send them some photos and summary.

    Then depending on your location they might decide to send a specialist to your home or ask you to bring the sculptures ‘in’. Or at the very least they can assist you in terms of who to contact..
    2manybooks, kyratango and judy like this.
  3. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    I am still curious as to why you started out by asking if we could identify the tribe or village that these came from. You seem to be in direct contact with them. Can't you ask them who they are?

    It is not uncommon for older artifacts to be sold to the western market. In the 20th century many of the older traditions were abandoned, the objects have fallen out of use, and the people can get good money for them.
  4. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    The people who put their marks on the paper are referred to as representatives of 'le groupement Kumbo', the Kumbo group.
    The document was drawn up on the 2nd of March 1963 in Kumbo, so presumably Kumbo is a place.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
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  5. smallaxe

    smallaxe Well-Known Member

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  6. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

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  7. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    I need to amend my first post in this thread to say that the Grasslands/Grassfields area of Cameroon occupies the Northwest, West and portions of the Southwest Regions (formerly known as Provinces).

    Kumbo is located in the Northwest Region, and is the capitol of the Nso people, as noted in the wikipedia article smallaxe linked to. The second document that GX40 posted refers to the Banjii-Nsoh Chiefdom. The orthography for African names (places and people) has not been consistent for much of the time, so it can get confusing. It may be that the Nso of Kumbo are the same or related to the Nsoh named in the document. The village of Banji/Banjii that I found is also in the Northwest Region, but west of Kumbo. The Fons (kings) of Nso seem to have become the dominate Fon in the area, with other formerly independent chiefdoms being subsumed under their leadership. Perhaps the Banjii-Nsoh chiefdom was one such.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
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  8. 2manycats

    2manycats Active Member

    Is no one going to mention that the second document refers to the main sculpture as "the great worrier of the land", which I thought I was?
  9. 2manycats

    2manycats Active Member

    Incidentally, persons interested in a humorous if colonialist view of Cameroon and the Fon of Bafut might try Gerald Durrell's books 'The Bafut Beagles' and 'A Zoo in my Luggage', which recount his animal-collecting expeditions there in 1949 & 1957.
    Potteryplease, Bakersgma and komokwa like this.
  10. Boland

    Boland Well-Known Member

    Very interesting information.Thanks
  11. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    But he was the great worrier of Cameroon.
    I think he was worrying about how to organize and lead groups during inter-tribal war. In spite of his anxiety, he managed to do that anyway. That is true courage, imo.
    2manybooks and Potteryplease like this.
  12. GX40

    GX40 New Member

    Hi, sorry I have been working. you are all amazing! Thank you! Interesting discussion!

    I think they are all kings and queens, bar one which I'm thinking match as a couple by their head gear. If you look at my original image:

    Go clockwise:

    Number 1 is on its own.
    Number 2 matches with number 6.
    Number 3 matches with number 5.
    Number 4 matches with number 7

    What do you think?
  13. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    The hats with the pom-poms on the sides are a type of "prestige" hat worn by kings and high ranking individuals in many of the ethnic groups in Cameroon.

    I cannot find other examples of the headdress with the flat panels.

    I cannot see each of the figures really well, but most of them appear to be holding drinking gourds or horns, which are typical regalia for royalty. Necklaces are also signifiers of importance.

    Without knowing the village the figures came from, I don't think I can speculate further.
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