Photographs © Tim Hamill
This Fali doll has been vetted as being authentic.
In addition to a very rich display of beads, this doll is adorned with cowrie shells and 5 coins from British West Africa and the Republic of France.
In Cameroon, when a young Fali man becomes betrothed, he makes a doll (ham pilu) from wood and decorates it with hair, beads, and other small objects. He then gives it to his fiancee, who wears it in a baby carrier on her back. The doll is a symbol of their marriage commitment and represents their future child. The man gives the doll the gender that he desires for his first-born. The young woman cares for the figure until the promised child is born; at this point, the couple carefully stores the doll away. ---From ISN'T S/HE A DOLL, PLAY AND RITUAL IN AFRICAN SCULPTURE (1996) by Elisabeth Cameron
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