Male Figure

African, Bamum peoples, Cameroon
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Cameroon


Overall: 65 x 18.5 x 16 cm (25 9/16 x 7 5/16 x 6 5/16 in.) Overall (on wood platform base): 3.5 x 19.7 x 23.5 cm (1 3/8 x 7 3/4 x 9 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, burlap, beads, shells, string, encrustation

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



The Bamum of the Cameroon Grasslands have a rich tradition of courtly art. Royal prestige and wealth was directly related to the richness of the visual display s in the king’s palace. Rulers would call upon artists to make masks, textiles, sculptures, and stools and noble status would be rewarded to artists that were particularly well-liked by the king. This seated male figure may have been a piece of the royal treasury, or at least inspired by the heavily beaded sculptures that were particularly popular amongst Bamum royals.


1970s, sold by an unidentified African merchant, Cambridge, MA, to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart