Namji is the name of the people inhabiting an area in The West of the north Cameroon. The Namji tribe is famous for their wooden dolls carved with geometric features and adorned with multi-colored bead necklaces, cowrie shells, coins, metal strips, fiber and leather. The dolls held by young Namji girls to play and to ensure their fertility, are considered among the finest and the most beautiful dolls in Africa. They are carved from solid hardwood. The most popular place to carry ones’ doll is strapped to the back, the way real infants are toted around.
Mami Wata is often described as a mermaid-like figure, with a woman's upper body (often nude) and the hindquarters of a fish or serpent. In other tales, Mami Wata is fully human in appearance (though never human). The existence and spiritual importance of Mami Wata is deeply rooted in the ancient tradition and mythology of the coastal southeastern Nigerians (Efik, Ibibio and Annang people). Mami Wata often carries expensive baubles such as combs, mirrors, and watches. A large snake (symbol of divination and divinity) frequently accompanies her, wrapping itself around her and laying its head between her breasts. Other times, she may try to pass as completely human, wandering busy markets or patronising bars. Traders in the 20th century carried similar beliefs with them from Senegal to as far as Zambia. Traditions on both sides of the Atlantic tell of the spirit abducting her followers or random people whilst they are swimming or boating. She brings them to her paradisiacal realm, which may be underwater, in the spirit world, or both.Should she allow them to leave, the travellers usually return in dry clothing and with a new spiritual understanding reflected in their gaze. These returnees often grow wealthier, more attractive, and more easygoing after the encounter.
Handcrafted from tin using only snips, pliers and hammers by members of the Arts Sculptors Project and then painted in vibrant colors by artists from the Weya community.
Medium Bobo Owl Mask. Bobo Tribe, 26.5" tall x 27.5" wide. The Bobo tribe believes that every act that takes something from nature has a negative impact. Before planting and harvesting their crops the Bobo tribe holds rituals to ask permission from the nature spirits and their creator god, Wuro. They believe Wuro is responsible for nature’s equilibrium and bringing everything into harmony. Wuro cannot be described or represented by sculpture.
Masks are used to bring bush spirits to chase evil from their community and to purify the land for successful planting and harvest. These masks are made from fiber, cloth, leaf, and wood and have geometric designs. They are usually worn with costumes made from leaf and fiber. The purification rituals last for three days and are usually before the planting season and after the harvest. The masks are also used at men’s initiations and funerals. During funeral rituals the wearers of the Bobo masks comfort the spirits of the dead and partake in a series of rituals that lead them to the after world. Funeral ritual dances are full of energy and use drums and bells designed to wake the dead and instruct them to leave.
Country: Burkina Faso