Photographs © Tim Hamill
BAMILEKE, BED 2, $800, SOLD Cameroon
Most Bamileke art (and the work of other kingdoms of the Cameroon Grasslands) relates to kings and important chiefs, who defined their power by the display of prestige objects during important ceremonies. Beds, like stools were among the most important of these objects. The motifs include leopards, human figures and heads, spiders, lizards and other subjects plus abstract designs. The spider, often found abstracted in repeating patterns,is a symbol of wisdom. The leopard; cunning, fast, mobile and guardedly aggressive, signifies the ability to survive and is the most important royal icon, often even the king's alter ego. All are carved from a single block of wood. No. 3 has two added crosspieces at the base for support.
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