ngain (Helmet Mask)

About this object

History of use

These Kam style female masks, common throughout the Cameroon Grasslands area, are controlled by the kwifoyn societies, whose membership is drawn from important lineages closely affiliated to the royal courts. The masks are performed during death ceremonies and coronations.

Physical description

Dark brown wooden mask carved in the shape of a female head. Carved of a single piece of wood. Eyes are rounded and emphasized with a ring of light coloured earth around the outside. A carved nose protrudes from the centre of the face, nostrils flared, over a slightly open mouth containing small carved teeth. The chin is pointed, cheeks full and round. The ears protrude, each with a hole in the lobe. A carved line around the head indicates a hair line or hat, with a decoration of raised oval lines topping the crown. A large hole is carved through the top of the head into the roughly hollowed out centre of the mask.