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Bowl of a Royal Pipe

African, Bamum or Bagam peoples, Cameroon
early 20th–late 20th century
Artist Unidentified, African


Object Place, Western Grasslands, Cameroon

Dimensions

12 x 4 x 16 cm (4 13/16 x 1 11/16 x 6 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

2000.1054

Medium or Technique

Cire perdue casted bronze

On View

Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Tools & equipment

Artists in the Bamum and Bagam kingdoms of the Cameroon Grassfields created stunning objects using the lost-wax casting technique. Among them is this tobacco-pipe bowl in the form of an elephant's head, which boldly captures the animal's characteristic features. Two sets of enormous tusks allude to the importance of ivory. In the symbolic universe of the Grassfields peoples, kings and elephants are closely associated, as both display power and strength. Thus, pipes such as this one were prestige objects reserved for royalty. The generous gift of this fine work supports the Museum's commitment to expanding its representation of African visual arts.

Provenance

1958, sold by Mathias Komor (dealer), New York, to the father of the donor; 2000, year-end gift anonymous gift to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 24, 2001)

Credit Line

Anonymous gift