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Object Name: Beaded headdress for elephant mask
Culture: Bamileke peoples
Place of Origin: Cameroon
Date/Era: Before 1880
Medium/Materials: Fiber, textile, beads, wood
Dimensions: H: 47.00 cm (18.5 in), W: 43.50 cm (17.1 in), D: 46.00 cm (18.1 in)
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Mr. William Lloyd Davis.
Accession Number: X64.86
Extravagant headgear is a mark of elevated status in the Grassfields kingdoms, and this large and elaborate beaded example is very rare. Its patterns are schematic representations of the frog, symbol of fertility, and the spider, associated with ancestors and prophecy. The two leopards with bared teeth surmounting the headdress are the ultimate symbols of the king, who is often referred to as a leopard. This striking headdress was at one time the crowning element of a royal beaded elephant mask, though it could have been worn with other sorts of beaded vestments as well.
Source: Exhibition Wall Text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006