Lot 86
  • 86

Mambila Figure, Cameroon

30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • wood
  • Height: 25 3/4 in (65.4 cm)


Allan Stone, New York

Catalogue Note

According to Kerchache (1990: 144), Mambila "religious life centres around ancestor worship.  Every village has an ancestor hut that is entrusted to the care of the elder.  It is built of stilts and has an image called 'Baltu' displayed on its front wall which shows a man and a woman holding a net which is used for catching birds or fish.  The ancestor figures of the Mambila are kept in such nets.  These figures are carved out of very soft wood and painted with red, white and black pigments.  They are called tadep or tadep dia (figures that measure 30 cm or more)."

Large scale Mambila ancestor statues of the quality and age of the Stone Mambila figure are exceedingly rare.  See a female figure in the collection of Drs. Daniel and Marian Malcolm, New Jersey (Kerchache 1990: 145, pl. 52); a male figure previously in the collection of Mia and Loed Van Bussel, Amsterdam (Kerchache 1990: 147, pl. 57); another male figure previously in the collection of the renowned art collector Rudolf Leopold, Vienna (Bastin 1984: 226, fig. 227); and a female figure previously in the Harry A. Franklin Collection, Los Angeles, sold at Sotheby's New York, May 16, 2013, lot 118.