Lot: 34

Elephant mask

Cameroon Grassfields, Babanki / Oku

Provenance Size Hammer price
Ludwig Bretschneider, Munich, Germany
Munich Private Collection
H: 31.9 inch 1000 EUR


Most elephant masks originate from the centres of Oku and the Babanki area. In the Oku Kingdom (Bamenda) they are called "ketam".

Among the peoples of the Cameroon Grassfields, the elephant, like the leopard, is considered a royal symbol. The use of an elephant mask is therefore a special privilege reserved only for certain lineages (kinship groups).

Wherever the elephant masks appear, they perform as so-called leader masks and occupy the second most important position after the human "kam" mask. In keeping with their status, the mask dancers move with dignity and deliberation.