Crest (Tsesah)

Bamileke peoples

Not on view

This majestic creation is at once massive and ethereal. A two-dimensional forehead soars above compressed volumetric features. The penetrating, boldly outlined eyes gaze heavenward. The geometric motifs that were densely inscribed across the upper part have been heavily eroded and only deep grooves are evident now. This work may have been a prototype for the extant tsesah corpus due to its age, scale, and fluid design. The extensive native repairs testify to its long life as an avatar of Bamileke royal power. Once it became too fragile to be used, a replacement example was carved and the decommissioned crest remained stored within its community.

Crest (Tsesah), Wood, Bamileke peoples

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