Sunday, July 24, 2016

AKL Art Spotlight: Prestige Gown of the Babanki

Located on the floors just above the lobby of the Jambo House is this beautiful gown of the Babanki people of Cameroon. This tribe is located in the western grasslands of that African nation. Currently, there are about 40,000 members of this ethnic group. The tribe pays homage to a single king, and this gown would be worn only by one of his wives.

Like many tribes in that area, the Babanki worship their ancestors. Unlike many, they believe the spirits of these ancestors can be found in the deceased's skulls. The skulls of family members are possessed by the oldest living male of the family. It is believed that if a skull is not preserved that particular spirit may then haunt the family mostly because he has nowhere to live. Therefore, there is a lot skull iconography in their art. 

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