Visions of Africa: Bamum

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Located in the Grassfields region of modern Cameroon, ever since its beginnings in the late sixteenth century, the Bamum kingdom gave the utmost importance to the role of art in visualizing the spirit and essence of the state, and as a means of forging a distinct and unique Bamum identity. For this reason, the kings surrounded themselves with artists who worked exclusively for the court and the country's elite, creating stunning thrones, masks, and exquisite objects of use. To this day, artists of this kingdom produce large-scale works, among them wooden thrones, stools, masks, and sculptures often covered with beads, but now for the international market. This book explores the history of the Bamum court arts and the art forms that flourished outside the royal realm, presenting world-renowned sculptures in wood and metal, and setting these works into their larger historical and cultural contexts. It focuses on the complex ways in which Bamum monarchs and their artists melded old and new media adn techniques, a process that culminated under the visionary leadership of Sultan Ibrahim Njoya, the seventeenth king, who ruled from 1187/7 to 1931.


by Chirstraud M. Geary
123 pages

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