Fali Fertility Doll – HAM PILU – Northern Cameroon
20th century. Carved wood, multiple layers of multi-colored trade glass beads, leather amulets, cowrie shells. Cm. 21,0 high (8.27″); grams 588,8 (20.77 oz.).
In Cameroon, when a young Fali man becomes betrothed, he makes a doll (ham pilu) from wood and decorates it with hair, beads, and other small amulets. He then gives it to his fiancée, who wears it in a baby carrier on her back. The doll is a symbol of their marriage commitment and represents their future child. The man gives the doll the gender that he desires for his first-born. The young woman cares for the figure until the promised child is born.
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