Image Gallery → Power and Prestige

  • Male Royal Ancestor Mask
  • Kuba Belt
  • Kuba Belt
  • Sash with Triangular Pendant
  • Hat (Mpaan)
  • Kuba Belt
  • Man's Prestige Hat (ashetu)
  • Beaded Coronet
  • Beaded Coronet
  • Beaded Coronet
  • Beaded Crown (adenla)
  • Royal Slippers
  • Elephant Mask
Elephant Mask

Tunic for Elephant Mask

Bamileke People
Elephant Mask and Tunic
20th Century
Cloth, beads and fur
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Arlan Rosenbloom
T-78-1-A and B

The Bamileke elephant mask and costume wrapper belong to the kuosi society, once a warrior association, now an organization comprising of wealthy and accomplished men. Today, elephant masks are performed at state ceremonies and funerary festivals of kuosi members, title-holders, and the king. The elaborate beaded embroidery repeats the isosceles triangle, symbolizing the leopard. Together, the elephant and leopard imagery link this mask to the powers and abilities of the king. The masks are complemented by elaborate headdresses surmounted by beaded sculptures of elephants or leopards, or flared bunches of bright red parrot feathers.

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