Anthropomorphic dance crest
|Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich, Germany
Zemanek-Münster, Würzburg, 27 November 2010, lot 452
Christian Franke, Murrhardt, Germany
|H: 10.4 inch||7200 EUR|
wooden core, coated with animal skin, just eyes and mouth left free, inserted wooden teeth, beard and coiffure made of real hair, slightly dam., missing parts and cracks in the leather, base. Just like their neighbours the Ekoi/Ejagham and other ethnies of the Crossriver area, the Boki cultivated a headhunting tradition with the corresponding head crests. These were allegedly have originally been made of real human skulls from killed enemies. They were exhibited on special trophee parades, worn by young men as a sign of manliness. In areas whose population was constantly under the threat of raids, clan feuds, tribal warfare or slave hunts it comes as no surprise that the skill of a young man in combat was measured by this kind of practice. Lateron the real skulls were subsituted by wooden replicas. There was a transition from a trophy cult to a cult of skulls/ancestors. Correspondingly they were no longer used for war masquerades but for initiation rites and in funeral ceremonies. The headdresses have a realistic, but not a portrayal character. They do not represent one specific ancestor. In fact they were handed down from one generation to another, thus - as a whole - embodying the nobel doings of every ancestor, who ever possessed it.