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Crest mask
Date: Late 19th century
Medium: Wood
Dimensions: H x W x D: 77 x 53 x 27.4 cm (30 5/16 x 20 7/8 x 10 13/16 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Walt Disney World Co., a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company
Geography: Grassfields region, Cameroon
Object Number: 2005-6-5
Search Terms:
Agricultural
Leadership
Funerary
Object is not currently on exhibit

This rare 19th-century mask is one of 19 known masks of its kind in public and private collections. It is characterized by a complex interplay of cylinders, circular patterns and geometric shapes-cylinders, lozenges, triangles and parallel lines. Originally designated "Batcham," after the site from which the first mask of this type was collected in 1904, the mask was an instrument of social control and represented the power of the king and other dignitaries. A person of high rank danced the mask at the funerals of the king and other notables, at the end of harvest celebrations and at the new year. The dancer wore it on top of his head with a costume to conceal his identity.

Wood face mask of the head of an animal (baboon) on a small round base with a tall, broad forehead of two panels, slit eyes, long nostrils and an open mouth. The mask is in dark wood.

Paul and Ruth Tishman, New York, by 1972 to 1984


The Face of Dynasty: Royal Crests from Western Cameroon, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York, December 4, 2017-September 3, 2018



The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection Highlights, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., May 21, 2009-June 4, 2014



African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., February 15, 2007-March 31, 2009



BIG/small, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., January 17-July 23, 2006



Pavilion, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 2, 2002



For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1981


Harter, Pierre. 1972. "Les Masques dits 'Batcham.'" Arts d'Afrique noire 3, p. 35.



Kreamer, Christine Mullen. 2006. "African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection." Tribal Arts 43, p. 90, no. 19.



Kreamer, Christine Mullen, Bryna Freyer and Andrea Nicolls. 2007. African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, pp. 178-179, no. 58.



Patton, Sharon F. 2005. "Disney-Tishman: Gift to the Smithsonian Institution." Tribal Art X:2 (39), p. 62, no. 2.



Vogel, Susan (ed). 1981. For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 182-183, no. 106.


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