Royal elephant mask

Bali people, Cameroon
Bali people, Cameroon

Q:  I live in Sydney, Australia, and I want to know if  you can please tell me about the origin, value and history of this wooden elephant mask. It has French Cameroon coins and shells imbedded on it. Please check attached photos.  Charbel, 712

A:  Large masks like this were made for the Bali ruling class of western Cameroon. My guess is that the more prosperous folks of Cameroon would still display masks like this on their walls. Of course, collectors in Europe and North America would not want it because it looks like something manufactured for tourists– not like the masks shown in museums and books. I think most people would love seeing this handsome piece on the wall. C+

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