Lot: 263

96th Auction

Buffalo mask "nya", before 1920

Cameroon Grassfields, Bamileke

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
H: 34.3 inch 2500 EUR
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, pigments, cowry snails, rest. This mask impresses with its dimensions, the large, wide-open mouth, the rounded nostrils and the huge horns. Their forms seem almost exaggerated, almost caricatured. Comparable masks are depicted at Schädler (1992), p. 171, fig. 137 and Nooter (1989), fig. 798 (AHDRC 0153505). The buffalo is considered a symbol of masculinity, strength, courage and power throughout West Africa. The mask was possibly worn at dances on the occasion of funeral ceremonies for society members, as a sign of honour and respect.


Schädler, Karl-Ferdinand, Götter - Geister - Ahnen, München 1992, p. 171, ill. 137 Robbins, Warren M. & Nancy Ingram Nooter, African Art in American Collections, o.O. 1989, ill. 798