Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art
A Cameroonian Fertility Doll – 19th century

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: African: Pre 1910: item # 658816

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Ichiban Japanese & Oriental Antiques
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Marion, CT 06444-0395

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A Cameroonian Fertility Doll – 19th century
A Cameroonian Fertility Doll – early 19th century. This is a fertility doll from the Namji (Doyayo, Dowayo, Namchi, Namshi), Cameroon. Notice the amazing power and strength of the doll from its stance – if viewed alone, it could almost look to be six feet tall. This doll measures 11” high x 5 ¾” wide x 3” deep and is decorated with blue and yellow beads.

Namji are the people inhabiting an area in the west of the north Cameroon. They are famous for their dolls fabricated with geometric features and adorned with bead necklaces, sometimes with shells, coins, metal elements, and other materials. Generally, the dolls held by young Namji women to play and to ensure their fertility, are considered among the finest and the most beautiful dolls in Africa. The doll would have a name, be fed, be talked to and be carried strapped to the back everywhere the child would go. These dolls help prepare the young Namji women for their role as mothers in their future life.

The dolls are considered among the finest and the most beautiful dolls in Africa. They are carved from solid hardwood. These dolls are so famous that one is used as the cover illustration for a noted reference book on African Art –“African Dolls for Play and Magic” published by the Galerie Amrad African Arts in Paris.

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