Ceremonial rattle "Musambo"
Tikar people, Cameroon, mid. 20th century, private collection from Finland.
The Cameroon Grasslands is inhabited by a large number of related peoples. These peoples can be divided into three smaller subgroups: Bamum, Bamenda Tikar and Bamileke. Within these complexes there are numerous smaller ethnic groups. All of the people in this area are historically farmers who grow maize, yams and peanuts etc. Women, who are believed to make the soil more fruitful, are responsible for planting and harvesting the crops. Men are responsible for clearing the fields for planting.
The Tikar is a blanket term used for several ethnic groups in Cameroon. The Tikar area is occupied by over 250, 000 people who speak different languages, but yet claim common ancestors. Politically, the area is divided into numerous small independent kingdoms and chiefdoms, whose powers are counterbalanced by male and female societes. There is also a single ethnic group called Tikar who live in on the Tikar Plain in Adamawa Region. Their population is approx. 25,000. The Tikar have elements of matrilinear and patrilinear descent. Tikars belief that during pregnancy the womans menstruation blood forms the parts of the fetus. This blood is said to form the skin, blood, flesh and most of the organs. The bones, brain, heart and teeth are believed to be formed from the father’s sperm.
Tikar people are noted as mask-makers. They have focused on education for generations. Teachers taught boys vocational skills which included wood carvings, making bronze sculptures, mask carvings and other art and crafts. The Tikar people also developed a process for using hot beeswax to make masks, jewelry and sculptures.
Finely constructed musical instrument. Primarily, the shakers are two kinds, basket and calabash. The basket shaker has a piece of round calabash as the base, and the basket is woven and closed at the top. It can be a single, double, triple or quadruple basket shaker linked together at the top in such way that the link becomes the handle of the shaker. Before the top of the basket is closed, rattling materials, such as pebbles, bone pieces or seeds, are put into the basket. The Calabash shaker instead has the rattling materials laced around the calabash.
Gorgeous large double basket rattle. Handle wrapped with facric strips. At each end of the handle there is a rattan sphere which contains seed pots, bend crown caps, bone fragments, and stones. Good condition. Age-related wear, minor fractures and cracks. Signs of use. Dirt, dust and soot. Size approx. 16,0cm x 56,0cm.