TITLE: Bamileke Helmet Mask
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
COUNTRY: Cameroon
ETHNICITY: Bamileke
DESCRIPTION: Helmet Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Agriculture; Celebration; Funeral; Status
AGE: ca. 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: none

The Bamileke people of the Cameroon grasslands are closely related to their neighbors, the Babanki and Bamoun peoples, and have similar artistic styles. The Bamileke society is highly stratified by lineage, with certain royal lineages exclusively entitled to wear certain masks.  Lineage masks may represent persons, such as the kam, ngoin, or animals, and are used principally at funerals and annual harvest festivals. The kam mask is reserved for royalty and is the highest ranking mask, with ngoin, his wife, also highly ranked. Helmet masks like this one are open to non-royal lineages to use.