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Masquerade and Performance

Bamileke Artist, Cameroon, Elephant Headdress, nineteenth century, glass beads, wood, cloth, and raffia, purchase through funds provided by patrons of Collectors Evening 2011, 2011.1.

The collection includes masks, masquerade costumes, and traditional instruments used in both ritual and festive performances. Masquerade items in the collection demonstrate a broad range of materials and production methods reflective of the robust ethnic and cultural diversity of the continent and of the varied social functions of masquerade, including initiation rites, harvest celebrations, entertainment, funerary traditions, and spiritual observances.