While perusing a typical African art exhibition one will almost always encounter articles designed by the Bamoun people of Cameroon. Regardless of province, the art focuses on the king and his royal court and is dramatized by elaborate fashion in every medium imaginable. Traditionally the king would own an extremely large pipe decorated with animals designated as royal court animals such as elephants and lizards and smoked it when he traveled from village to village in plain site. This was regarded as an important ritual that would make both the fields and Bamoun women fertile. Average villagers smoked for ceremonial reasons and personal pleasure. The size and the decorative motifs of the pipes were regulated by strict codes according to the individuals wealth and tribal status. Only people of means could afford to have a pipe of bronze commissioned and only a person of considerable rank would dare have a lizard decorate it no matter how small. Our African bronze pipes hail from the small Bamoun kingdom of Bangwa; as designated by the tell tale "puffy cheeks" that define the bowls of these pipes as well as their masks and statuary. Competition between metal workers is always fierce and open because this craft is not traditionally handed down from father to son. This keeps ideas fresh and the level of craftsmanship very, very high. We offer two pipes; one adorned with cowry shells (symbols of richness and prosperity) while the other has the gekko lizard motif (a symbol of royality and fertility.) Both objects are very well cast! The price is for one pipe.
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Cowry Pipe: Well formed cowry shells adorn the top of the pipe.
Dimensions: 7 1/2 inches long. The bowl is 2 1/4 inches wide x 3 1/4 inches tall.
Gekko Pipe: A pair of Bamoun bells center 2 gekko lizards on the bowl top.
Dimensions: 7 1/2 inches long. The bowl is 2 1/2 inches wide x 3 1/4 inches tall.
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