WOOD, HEIGHT 58CM
BULU, SOUTHERN CAMEROON
Ngi in the local language of the Bulu is the name for the Gorilla, a fearful animal. The gorilla spirit was believed to watch human life and behaviour from the forest and punish any perceived transgressions during the night. A special Ngi ritual was performed against this sourcery. The Bulu are closely related to the Fang and similarities to traditional Fang sculptures can be seen in this statue, like the way the gorilla is resting on his legs and the arms meeting at the stomach. Like many African sculptures it combines both human and animal features. The double row of eyes is probably emphasising the belief that the Ngi are constantly watching the people of the village and nothing is hidden from them. The statue has a carefully created coarse patina, indicating a gorilla’s hairy skin.