African art

Cameroon and Gabon

The small tribes of the Cameroon grasslands display a fairly homogeneous style. Sculpture is bold in execution and vital in expression. Wood carvings include large house posts, masks, and other ritual objects. Among the Mangbetu people of Gabon, the decorative motifs on stringed musical instruments, drums, and spoons emphasize the human figure, often elongated with smooth surface planes. Some figures are said to act as guardian spirits over ancestors whose bones are kept in boxes. The art of the Bakota people is best known for highly stylized wood and metal figures that were placed in reliquaries.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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