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Object Name: Mask of a lineage group
Culture: Oku or Babanki peoples
Place of Origin: Western Grassfields, Cameroon
Date/Era: 19th-20th century
Dimensions: L: 27.5 cm, H: 43.5 cm (L: 10.8 in, H: 17.1 in)
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Anonymous Gift.
Accession Number: X78.126
Masks from the Grassfields kingdoms are often associated with regulatory societies whose purpose is to ensure social control and law enforcement, as well as to check and balance the authority of the fon (king). These masks may depict either male or female characters. They appear in sequence with as many as thirty masks performing on a single occasion. The “leader mask,” who symbolizes royal authority and lineage strength, wears a garment with tufts of human hair and carries two staffs.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.