Q: This mask has been in my family for around 50 years. We don’t know much about it, but it was a gift from a doctor who traveled in Africa. I’m trying to get pointed in the right direction, any help would be great! Marc, 996
A: The right direction would be the Grasslands Region of Northern Cameroon. Perhaps the carver is from the Bamileke tribe, but there are a few other nearby groups with similar styles. The character is traditional, but even though it is at least 50 years old, I suspect it was made for the runners and tourists. B
“Runners” is a term for Africans who make their living buying carvings and re-selling them. This occupation has been around for over 100 years, or ever since Europeans and Americans became interested in collecting African folk art.