Bamileke, Cameroons grasslands, West Africa. 5 ½” height, modeled hide with trade bead and cloth decoration and details. Known as Atwozen, these were made as replacements for actual skulls or heads taken in battle. They were displayed in the houses of chiefs (Mfos) only. Historically, the Bamileke have battled to resist conversion to Islam, moving further west and south over two centuries. Their weapons were the short sword and spear. Originally, trophy heads taken in battle were adorned with beads. As they deteriorated or were lost to flooding, these stuffed cloths or hide heads with bead decoration replaced them. Thus, each represents an individual, killed in battle. The beads used here suggest a date of late 19th-early 20th century when Germany occupied Cameroon. Very Rare.
Item ID: A1741

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