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  • Bamum - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Fulani traders moving steadily southwards into Cameroon forced the Bamum into their current location during the 17th century The Bamum are also one of the first peoples in Africa to develop a writing system under the auspices of King Njoya at the end of the 19th century Njoya was able to maintain his status as a ruler under German indirect colonial rule but was forced into exile when the French took over in 1916 The kingship has since been restored Economy The region played an important part in trade routes connecting with the seaport of Douala in the south and with Fulani and Hausa traders in the north All of the people in this area are historically farmers who grow maize yams and peanuts as staple crops They also raise some livestock including chickens and goats which play an important role in daily sustenance Women who are believed to make the soil more fruitful are responsible for the tasks of planting and harvesting the crops Men are responsible for clearing the fields for planting and practice some nominal hunting Specific economic enterprises are dictated by the particular microenvironments of individual ethnic groups Political Systems All of the peoples who make up the Cameroon Grasslands culture area pay allegiance to the Fon king Each village is governed by a leader who is selected by his predecessor and who is usually the head of the dominant lineage within that community Each Fon is served by a council of elders who advise him on all important decisions and who also play an important role in the selection of the next Fon The Fon serves for a lifetime abdicating the throne or stool only when nearing death Complex age grade societies also help to structure the community Among the Bamum the role of the

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Bamum (2016-02-13)
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  • Bangubangu - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    The Bangubangu carve freestanding anthropomorphic sculptures which are characterized by coffee bean shaped eyes and pointed beards Women also produce high quality pots that are sold in the local markets for profit History The Bangubangu are now thought to have a shared history with other early hunters pre Bembe hunters who passed through the region including the Bembe Boyo northern Hemba and Holoholo All of these peoples share similar carving styles that venerate the ancestors They originated in the southeast around the Lualaba River and migrated in several waves to their current location near Lake Tanganyika Like the Hemba they have also been greatly influenced by their contact with the Luba During the 19th century they cooperated with Moslem slave traders from the eastern coast and helped to establish a trading post at Kabambare The population has been seriously reduced due to wars slavery and sickness resulting in very few surviving examples of Bangubangu sculpture Economy Although descended from early hunters very little hunting is currently carried out by the Bangubangu They are primarily subsistence farmers with the women employing slash and burn technology to raise maize beans millet sweet potatoes peanuts and rice Men contribute to the local economy by raising goats sheep chicken and cows Historically the people in this region sold rubber palm oil and cotton on the international market Political Systems The current power structure in Bangubangu villages was imposed by the Belgian colonials and consists of a paramount chief who is assisted in governing by several officials Many villages do not recognize his power and pay allegiance to leadership selected on the local level Village leaders are known as Sultani a word which is obviously of Arabic origin Extended families claim ownership to land and inheritance is matrilineal Religion The Bangubangu recognize Vilie Nambi a

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Bangubangu (2016-02-13)
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  • Bangwa - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    identity All members of this group originally came from an area to the north and migrated in various complex patterns throughout the last several centuries Fulani traders moving steadily southwards into Cameroon in the 17th century forced the southern drift of most of the current residents The Bangwa were only officially separated from the Bamileke during colonial administration during the early 20th century Economy People in the region played an important part in regional trade routes connecting with the seaport of Douala in the south and with Fulani and Hausa traders in the north The Bangwa like most of the people in this area are historically farmers who grow maize yams and peanuts as staple crops They also raise some livestock including chickens and goats which play an important role in daily sustenance Women who are believed to make the soil more fruitful are responsible for the tasks of planting and harvesting the crops Men are responsible for clearing the fields for planting and practice some nominal hunting The Bangwa also developed trade relations with their neighbors living in southeastern Nigeria Political Systems Authority among the Bangwa was traditionally instituted as part of the Bamileke political complex Like most of the western Grasslands people Babanki political authority is vested in a village chief who is supported by a council of elders and is called Fon The Fon is elected to his position by his predecessor s council and is often an elder member of the most powerful extended family within the community The chief is recognized as the de facto owner of all the land that belongs to a given village and is seen as the dispenser of supreme justice Social behavior within the village is further controlled through a series of extensive age grade associations and secret societies both

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Bangwa (2016-02-13)
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  • Baule - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    All View all images in the media gallery Types of Art The Baule create art in several media including wooden sculpture gold and brass casting similar to their Asante ancestors and mask and figure carving which have been greatly influenced by their Senufo and Guro neighbors History The Baule belong to the Akan peoples who inhabit Ghana and Côte d Ivoire Three hundred years ago the Baule people migrated westward from Ghana when the Asante rose to power The tale of how they broke away from the Asante has been preserved in their oral traditions During the Asante rise to power the Baule queen Aura Poku was in direct competition with the current Asante king When the Asante prevailed the queen led her people away to the land they now occupy The male descendant of Aura Poku still lives in the palace she established and is honored by the Baule as their nominal king Economy The Baule grow yams and some maize as primary crops They are also exporters of cocoa and kola nuts which are grown on local plantations using large numbers of exploited migrant laborers most from Burkina Faso Many locally grown crops were introduced from the Americas during the Atlantic slave trade These include maize manioc peppers peanuts tomatoes squash and sweet potatoes They also raise farm animals including sheep goats chickens and dogs Markets which are primarily run by women take place every four days and are the center of the local economy Local produce and craft items are sold alongside imported goods from all over the world Political Systems The Baule have a highly centralized government with a king or chief at the top who inherits his position along matrilineal lines There are various subchiefs in charge of his local populations and all the chiefs

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Baule (2016-02-13)
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  • Beembe - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    The Beembe live north of the Congo River in the Congo Brazzaville on a plateau that rises above the Niari River The Beembe have been closely linked to the Kingdom of the Kongo since at least the 15th century Although there are numerous theories about their origin it seems very possible that they arrived in the region in two separate migrations some had lived in the region since before 1485 while others split from the Kongo at the time of a battle with the Portuguese in 1665 Their neighbors to the north are the Teke who were the original inhabitants of the Dondo Plateau The Beembe are matrilineal and polygamous Economy The Beembe are fishermen and also farm raising peanuts manioc and sweet potatoes Men do most of the hunting and fishing and women do most of the farming Hunting and gathering continue to add significantly to their diet Fishing is carried out with nets baskets and poison and hunting with firearms dogs and nets string through the forest Political Systems The family is the most basic unit with several families grouped into mvila clans The only system of political authority is the elected religious chief mfumu mpu who is

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Beembe (2016-02-13)
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  • Bembe - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Shambaa Shona Songo Songye South Sotho Suku Swahili Tabwa Tuareg Urhobo We Winiama Wodaabe Wolof Woyo Wum Yaka Yombe Yoruba Zaramo Zulu Bembe See All View all images in the media gallery Types of Art The Bembe carve numerous kinds of wooden figures that represent various spirits They also carve several different kinds of masks the most notable being elande antelope horn masks Knives staffs fly whisks and divination gourds are also often decorated History The Bembe originate from the northwest forests of Democratic Republic of the Congo They are representative of numerous ethnic traditions including Lega pre Lega Boyo Kunda and Bemba They are a tough and proud people who absorbed other populations and their systems of thought in the process of carving out their current homeland in a time of widespread conflict and under economic pressure from European invaders and slave traders during the 19th century Their desire for more land continues to result in conflict in the area today Economy The Bembe rely heavily on farming which is done mostly by women Rice maize groundnuts beans and bananas are the staple crops Goats sheep pigs and chicken are raised for meat The men are responsible for supplementing this diet through hunting to which they attach great ritual importance Occasionally the Bembe lease out some of their land to neighbors for grazing and recently they have begun to prospect for alluvial gold and tin which they can sell Political Systems Although there is no centralized local authority in Bembeland government is run quite effectively through a large number of patrilineal clans The Bwami society which is made up of the influential men in the community is responsible for making the political economic and judicial decisions which affect the community Religion Religion is based on individual and lineage ancestor

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Bembe (2016-02-13)
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  • Benin Kingdom - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Mossi Mumuye Ngbaka Nkanu Nok Nuna Oron Owo Pende Pokot Punu San Sapi Senufo Shambaa Shona Songo Songye South Sotho Suku Swahili Tabwa Tuareg Urhobo We Winiama Wodaabe Wolof Woyo Wum Yaka Yombe Yoruba Zaramo Zulu Benin Kingdom See All View all images in the media gallery Types of Art n a History The Benin Kingdom situated in southcentral Nigeria dates to approximately 900 A D The first or Ogiso dynasty lasted until 1170 at which time Yoruba rule was imposed from the city of Ife Oranmiyan the son of the Oni king of Ife was sent to Benin City where he wed a Benin woman She bore him a son Eweka I who became the first Benin Oba king Sometime during the 13th century Iguegha a caster was brought from Ife to craft memorial heads of the Obas Terracotta heads in collections have been dated to the late 15th or 16th century and were used by the Ogiso rulers on altars to their paternal ancestors Benin art became well known to the West in 1897 after the British Punitive Expedition sacked the city of Benin and brought thousands of objects back to Europe as war booty See also the

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Benin+Kingdom (2016-02-13)
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  • Bidyogo - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    about the origins of the Bidyogo their language definitely connects them with the current occupants of the coastal mainland It is known that at one time mainland peoples related to the Bidyogo extended far north along the coast into present day Mauritania and were gradually forced south as a result of southward Amazigh movement The earliest written references to the Bissagos Islands and the people who live on them dates to 1456 when a Portuguese explorer Alvise da Cadamosto described them in his travels Throughout the 17th century the islands were used as a port for ships intent on exporting slaves In the late 19th century the archipelago was colonized as part part of Portuguese Guinea Economy The lowland swampy ecology of the islands is particularly good for growing rice making it the most important staple crop of the Bidyogo Fishing in the surrounding Atlantic is nearly as important as farming The Bidyogo are quite adept at handling long canoes that on occasion have also been used to war against people living on the coast Pigs are the primary animal raised on the island Although this practice may have been introduced by Portuguese sailors in the 15th century it is also likely that pigs which were once a very important part of North African economies were brought to the islands by Bidyogo ancestors before the influence of Islam Political Systems Political power is invested in leaders who derive their power through their relationship to the ancestors which is traced through the matrilineal line Having a direct connection to the ancestors buried in the land entitles the leader to control the distribution of that land The leader of each community is attended to by a council of elders Bidyogo homes are structured with connecting compounds creating a strong sense of community

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Bidyogo (2016-02-13)
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