Intersections

Empowering Leaders

Africa has been rich in arts supporting leadership and governance from precolonial times to the present. Whether in the context of military states, royal confederacies, sacred chieftaincies, or councils of elders, the arts have served to uphold and strengthen those in power and their domains. In turn, rulers have often been patrons of the arts with the volume of artistic production dependent on their ability to marshal ample resources.

This section explores particular examples of African leadership to demonstrate that political power can be defined only in specific cultural contexts. It may, for example, reside in a king’s quick wit and oratorical wisdom, or it may arise from a ruler’s link to the spirit world. Sometimes power results from a delicate balance between a ruler and other branches of government. In such a case the arts can serve to ensure social control and justice.

  • X2006.4.1 Elephant Head Crest

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    Object Name: Elephant head crest

    Artist: Unknown

    Culture: Oku or Babanki peoples

    Place of Origin: Northwestern Grassfields, Cameroon

    Date/Era: 19th century

    Medium/Materials: Wood, copper, alloy, iron alloy

    Dimensions: L: 118.0 cm, W: 46.0 cm, H: 25.5 cm (L: 46.4 in, W: 18.1 in, H: 10.0 in)

    Credit Line and accesion number: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Mary-Louise Fantel in memory of Ernest Fantel.

    Accession Number: X2006.4.1

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  • X63.405 Pipe Bowl

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    Pipe bowl
    Bamum peoples, Cameroon
    19th-20th century
    Terra-cotta
    X63.405; Gift of Mary Hastings Bradley.

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  • X64.86 Beaded headdress for elephant mask

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    Beaded headdress for elephant mask
    Bamileke peoples, Cameroon
    Before 1880
    Fiber, textile, beads, wood
    H: 47.00 cm (18.5 in), W: 43.50 cm (17.1 in), D: 46.00 cm (18.1 in)
    Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Mr. William Lloyd Davis. X64.86

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  • X65.1617 Chief’s stool

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    Chiefäs stool
    Western Grassfields, Cameroon
    Late 19th-early 20th century
    Wood, plant fiber
    X65.1617; Gift of the Wellcome Trust.

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  • X65.1621 Ceremonial chair

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    Object Name: Ceremonial chair

    Artist: Unknown

    Place of Origin: Central Western Grassfields, Cameroon

    Date/Era: Early 20th century

    Dimensions: H: 81.5 cm

    Medium/Materials: Wood

    Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.

    Accession Number: X65.1621

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  • X65.5813ab Bottle

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    Object Name: Bottle

    Artist: Unknown

    Cultural Group: Bamileke peoples

    Place of Origin: Cameroon

    Date: 19th century

    Dimensions: Total Height: 62.50 cm, H: 53.50 cm, DIAM: 21.00 cm

    Materials Used: Gourd, glass beads, textile, felt, thread

    Credit Line and Accession Number: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust. X65.5813ab

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  • X65.5815A Palm-wine container

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    Object Name: Palm-wine container

    Artist: Unknown

    Place of Origin: Grassfields, Cameroon

    Date/Era: 19th century

    Dimensions: H: 51 cm

    Medium/Materials: Gourd, glass beads, textile, felt, thread, wood, cowrie shells

    Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.

    Accession Number: X65.5815A

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  • X65.5820 Mask (tsesah)

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    Object Name: Mask (tsesah)

    Artist: Unknown

    Culture: Bamileke peoples

    Place of Origin: Bamendjo, Cameroon

    Date/Era: Late 19th century

    Medium/Materials: Wood, paint, iron dowel, plant fiber, plant gum

    Dimensions: H: 53.34 cm, W: 47.00 cm, D: 30.50 cm (H: 21 in, W: 18.5 in, D: 12 in)

    Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.

    Accession Number: X65.5820

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  • X65.8228 Collar

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    Collar
    Bamum peoples
    Cameroon
    Late 19th-early 20th century
    Brass and copper
    Diam: 26.0 cm, D: 1.8 cm (Diam: 10.2, D: .71 in)
    Gift of the Wellcome Trust. X65.8228

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  • X67.2052 Fly whisk

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    Fly whisk
    Bamum peoples
    Cameroon
    19th century
    Raffia cloth, glass beads, horsehair, iron, nails, raffia thread
    H: 121.0 cm, W: 10.0 cm, D: 12.0 cm (H: 47.6 in, W: 3.9 in, D: 4.7 in)
    Gift of George G. Frelinghuysen. X67.2052

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  • X73.529 Elephant mask

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    Object Name: Elephant mask and costume

    Artist: Unknown

    Culture Group: Bamileke peoples

    Place of Origin: Cameroon

    Date: 19th century

    Materials: Burlap, fiber, fabric, seed beads, human hair

    Dimensions: H: 118.0 cm, W: 111.5 cm (H: 46.4 in, W: 43.8 in)

    Credit line and Accession Number: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Barry Kitnick. X73.529

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  • X73.603 Crest mask

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    Crest mask
    Oku peoples
    Western Grassfields, Cameroon
    19th-20th century
    Wood
    L: 44.5 cm, W: 27.9 cm (L: 17.5 in, W: 10.9 in)
    Gift of Mr. W. Thomas Davis. X73.603

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  • X77.935 Crest mask

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    Crest mask
    Buffalo
    Cameroon
    Oku peoples
    19th-20th century
    L: 31.70 cm, H: 27.00 cm (L: 12.4 in, H: 10.6 in)
    Fowler Museum at UCLA. Anonymous Gift. X77.935

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  • X78.126 Lineage group mask

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    Object Name: Mask of a lineage group

    Artist: Unknown

    Culture: Oku or Babanki peoples

    Place of Origin: Western Grassfields, Cameroon

    Date/Era: 19th-20th century

    Medium/Materials: Wood

    Dimensions: L: 27.5 cm, H: 43.5 cm (L: 10.8 in, H: 17.1 in)

    Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Anonymous Gift.

    Accession Number: X78.126

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  • X80.809 Crest mask

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    Crest mask, bird
    Kom or Oku peoples
    Western Grassfields, Cameroon
    19th-20th century
    Wood, kaolin, wire, vegetable fiber
    H: 19.3 cm, W: 23.0 cm, D: 56.0 cm (H: 7.6 in, W: 9.1 in, D: 22.0 in)
    Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Melvin Silverman. X80.809

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  • X82.569 Elephant mask

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    Elephant mask
    Bamileke peoples
    Cameroon
    20th century
    Beads, cotton, wood
    H: 150.0 cm, W: 71.5 cm, D: 6.0 cm (H: 59.1 in, W: 28.1 in, D: 2.4 in)
    Anonymous gift. X82.569

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  • X83.968 Leader mask

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    Leader mask
    Cameroon
    Kom peoples (?)
    Wood, pigment, bast, cord, hair, encrustation
    19th century
    L: 22.3 cm, H: 37.5 cm, D: 16.5 cm (L: 8.7 in, H: 14.7 in, D: 6.4 in)
    Fowler Museum at UCLA. Anonymous Gift. X83.968

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  • X86.3696 Mask of a lineage group

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    Mask of a lineage group
    Cameroon
    Wood and mixed media
    19th century
    L: 22.9 cm, H: 32.0 cm, D: 28.0 cm (L: 9.0 in, H: 12.5 in, D: 11.0 in)
    Fowler Museum at UCLA. Anonymous Gift. X86.3696

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  • X91.410 Drinking horn

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    Drinking horn
    Bamum peoples
    Cameroon
    19th century
    Horn and pigment
    H: 29.5 cm, W: 13.5 cm, D: 9.5 cm (H: 11.6 in, W: 5.3 in, D: 3.7 in)
    Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Peter J. Kuhn. X91.410

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  • X92.29AB Male and female figures

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    Object Name: Male and female figures

    Artist: Unknown

    Culture: Bamileke peoples

    Place of Origin: Bangwa, Cameroon

    Date/Era: Late 19th to early 20th century

    Dimensions: H (male): 97 cm; H (female): 87 cm

    Medium/Materials: Male: wood; female: wood, hair

    Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Helen and Dr. Robert Kuhn.

    Accession Number: X92.29ab

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