X
MOV File
Online Collections

Carved Tusk

Bobe%20Ngincho%3B%20Salifou%20Gbetnkom%2C%20%3Cb%3E%3Ci%3E%20Carved%20Tusk%3C%2Fi%3E%3C%2Fb%3E%2C%20tusk%20carved%20late%2019th%20century%3B%20bronze%20cap%20cast%201946%2C%20ivory%20and%20bronze%2C%20The%20Paul%20and%20Clara%20Gebauer%20Collection%20of%20Cameroon%20Art%3B%20Museum%20Purchase%3A%20Caroline%20Ladd%20Pratt%20Fund%2C%20public%20domain%2C%2072.12.41
Bobe Ngincho; Salifou Gbetnkom, Carved Tusk, tusk carved late 19th century; bronze cap cast 1946, ivory and bronze, The Paul and Clara Gebauer Collection of Cameroon Art; Museum Purchase: Caroline Ladd Pratt Fund, public domain, 72.12.41

Bobe%20Ngincho%3B%20Salifou%20Gbetnkom%2C%20%3Cb%3E%3Ci%3E%20Carved%20Tusk%3C%2Fi%3E%3C%2Fb%3E%2C%20tusk%20carved%20late%2019th%20century%3B%20bronze%20cap%20cast%201946%2C%20ivory%20and%20bronze%2C%20The%20Paul%20and%20Clara%20Gebauer%20Collection%20of%20Cameroon%20Art%3B%20Museum%20Purchase%3A%20Caroline%20Ladd%20Pratt%20Fund%2C%20public%20domain%2C%2072.12.41

This work is not currently on view.

Save to My Collection
Facebook Twitter
Details
Title

Carved Tusk

Artist

Salifou Gbetnkom (Bamum Kingdom, active mid-20th century)

Bobe Ngincho (Babanki-Tungo Kingdom, active second half of 19th century)

Date

tusk carved late 19th century; bronze cap cast 1946

Medium

ivory and bronze

Dimensions (H x W x D)

36 in x 3 in x 4 in

Collection Area

African Art

Category

Cameroon

Sculpture

Object Type

tusk

Culture

Babanki-Tungo Kingdom

Bamum Kingdom

Credit Line

The Paul and Clara Gebauer Collection of Cameroon Art; Museum Purchase: Caroline Ladd Pratt Fund

Accession Number

72.12.41

Copyright

public domain

Terms

Bamum

bronze

carving

footrests

ivory

lost-wax process

The Paul and Clara Gebauer Collection of Cameroon Art

tusk

Description

This tusk was carved by Bobe Ngincho, who worked in the second half of the nineteenth century in Babanki-Tungo, the most important center for ivory carving in the northwestern Grassfields. Motif bands create the design structure, which resembles that of the famous carved ivory tusks from the ancient kingdom of Benin, located in present-day Nigeria.

The iconography of the tusk is complex, representing several icons common in Grassfields art. Frog motifs symbolize propagation and abundancy, elephant heads allude to the power and beauty of this animal associated with kings, and a stylized spider motif refers to peace and protection thought to be embodied in the house spider. Two other bands depict royal retainers and birds.

In 1946, Salifou Gbetnkom, a Bamum artist who briefly settled in Bafreng near Bamenda, used the lost-wax method to cast the bronze cap, made to protect the brittle edges of the tusk. The cap repeats the spider motif.

Ivory was closely associated with rulers, as only they had the prerogative to possess and distribute it. Both carved and plain elephant tusks often served as kings' footrests at important ceremonies, where rulers presented themselves in full regalia and sat on elaborate thrones.

History
Related Artworks
Media
IMLS logoNEA logoNEH logo

The Portland Art Museum’s Online Collections site is brought to you thanks to support provided by the State of Oregon through its second Culture, History, Arts, Movies, and Preservation funding program and generous awards from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This Portland Art Museum's Online Collections site is powered by MWeb.