OKU KINGDOM, NORTHWESTERN GRASSLANDS, CAMEROON, HEIGHT 52CM
This helmet mask is only allowed to be worn by the king. It symbolises the power the king has over the entire population. At the base of the mask would be a dried grass attachment to fit around the head. The mask also symbolises the richness, abundance and wealth in the kingdom, displayed through the almost cheerful and exuberant depiction of people in togetherness building a new home. A very rare piece. My friend Salim has visited the remote Oku village 5 times between 1997 and 2002 and thanks to him do we know the full story behind this exquisite piece, which at first doesn’t look like a mask at all.