Masks of Terror and the Subjection of Cadets

in The Intestines of the State

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780226026114
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226026138 | DOI:
Masks of Terror and the Subjection of Cadets

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This chapter examines the palace masks of the Cameroon Grassfields, focusing on the four masks belonging to the palace kwifon society in the chiefdom of Oku. It explains that these masks depict fearsome creatures with a redoubtable and excessive tendency to violence, and investigates why such masks can be a source of pleasure and attraction to those who come to see them despite their being universally acknowledged as dangerous, frightening, and repulsive. The chapter also analyzes the witchcraft discourses of the Grassfields in the context of the slave trade, which clearly contributed to their genesis and their present structure.

Keywords: palace masks; Cameroon Grassfields; kwifon society; Oku chiefdom; witchcraft; slave trade

Chapter.  13902 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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