Shaman--Painting of an African Mask
Tikar-Bekorn People, Master of Bamessi Guild, Cameroon
The ancestors of the Tikar came from the Sudan to the Adamawa Northern Region of present-day Cameroon. They settled in a village they named Ngambe (present-day Bankim District) where they intermarried with selected grassland farmers and animal herders.
During the mixing with selected grassland residents, a powerful chief and eventually king came to power. With the skills brought from the Sudan, the Tikar king was able to rule most of northern and central Cameroon. After the death of the king, his oldest son inherited the throne and his other children expanded Tikar authority.
The Tikar Empire had strong political traditions. At the height of the Tikar Empire, fifteen kingdoms or clans existed; the Ngambe was the largest. Future kings and the ruling class always came from this clan and all clan were headed by a Fon who supervised nobles, large farm producers, military leaders, merchants, and town leaders. The Tikar People developed a higher culture than surrounding peoples. They were gifted in all the arts and excelled in wood work, metal work and ceramics.
Many Tikar people became victims of the slave trade and their power and numbers declined drastically.
One in a series of eleven paintings inspired by tribal African Masks in museum and private collections. This mask was on view in the collection of the de Young Museum, San Francisco. They were in use during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
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