Lot No. 94


Cameroon, Pygmies: A rare crossbow of the Pygmies in South Cameroon.


Cameroon, Pygmies: A rare crossbow of the Pygmies in South Cameroon. - Tribal Art

The crossbow as a weapon was brought to West Africa by European merchants in the 15th or 16th century. The Yoruba and Mandingo in Nigeria still use the crossbow as hunting weapon today. Similarly, the Fang and the small Pygmies in Cameroon use the crossbow for hunting small animals and birds.
Construction and use of the West African crossbow, also known as 'Nayin' or 'Mban': the length of the shaft is split into an upper and a lower part. By pressing the lower part of the shaft towards the bottom, a short stamp frees a transversal groove in the upper shaft. The string of the crossbow is then placed in this groove, with an arrow positioned before it. When the hunter releases the lower part of the shaft, the stamps expels the string from the groove and the crossbow ‘shoots’ the arrow forward. This same technical principle of the crossbow with split shaft also existed in Scandinavia.
The present crossbow of the Pygmies in South Cameroon is a complete, fully functioning object, with good, old usage patina. Additionally, a quiver with arrows, and three attached black-dyed hunting amulets carved from wood and bone (quiver and arrows look relatively new).
First half of the 20th century (crossbow); L: 105 cm, W: 46 cm (crossbow). (ME)

Provenance: Purchased directly from Pygmies near the town of Lolodorf, in South Cameroon. Austrian Private Collection.

additional picture:
A pygmy on a hunt in the primeval forest of South Cameroon, with a crossbow of the same type as the one presented above.
Photo: Private source

Specialist: Erwin Melchardt Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at

26.05.2015 - 15:00

Realized price: **
EUR 750.-
Estimate:
EUR 1,200.- to EUR 1,600.-

Cameroon, Pygmies: A rare crossbow of the Pygmies in South Cameroon.


The crossbow as a weapon was brought to West Africa by European merchants in the 15th or 16th century. The Yoruba and Mandingo in Nigeria still use the crossbow as hunting weapon today. Similarly, the Fang and the small Pygmies in Cameroon use the crossbow for hunting small animals and birds.
Construction and use of the West African crossbow, also known as 'Nayin' or 'Mban': the length of the shaft is split into an upper and a lower part. By pressing the lower part of the shaft towards the bottom, a short stamp frees a transversal groove in the upper shaft. The string of the crossbow is then placed in this groove, with an arrow positioned before it. When the hunter releases the lower part of the shaft, the stamps expels the string from the groove and the crossbow ‘shoots’ the arrow forward. This same technical principle of the crossbow with split shaft also existed in Scandinavia.
The present crossbow of the Pygmies in South Cameroon is a complete, fully functioning object, with good, old usage patina. Additionally, a quiver with arrows, and three attached black-dyed hunting amulets carved from wood and bone (quiver and arrows look relatively new).
First half of the 20th century (crossbow); L: 105 cm, W: 46 cm (crossbow). (ME)

Provenance: Purchased directly from Pygmies near the town of Lolodorf, in South Cameroon. Austrian Private Collection.

additional picture:
A pygmy on a hunt in the primeval forest of South Cameroon, with a crossbow of the same type as the one presented above.
Photo: Private source

Specialist: Erwin Melchardt Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at


Buyers hotline Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm
kundendienst@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 200
Auction: Tribal Art
Date: 26.05.2015 - 15:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 20.05. - 26.05.2015


** Purchase price incl. charges and taxes

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