Contemporary drinking horns in the Western Grassfields, Cameroon

SOURCE: Anthropologie: International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8903
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/1718

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Using ethnographic research and my local knowledge as a native of the western Grassfields, this paper discusses the recent growth and popularity of cow horn drinking cups decorated with facial image of Bruce Lee across the western Grassfields within the context of continuous obsession with objects of status typical of the region's titled men and elders. In particular, the paper illustrates how cow horn drinking cups with facial image of Bruce Lee embody the desire of Bambui youths to assert their status and identity, and more importantly to make Bambui voice heard in the wider Grassfields community. The paper also discusses the use of cow horn drinking cups by Bambui youths who are for the most part voiceless in issues of tradition as a means to challenge the dominant institution of traditional elites that generally excludes youths from certain categories of objects and motifs. The paper will show how by choosing to acquire drinking horns with foreign iconographic aesthetics such as the facial image of Bruce Lee, as traditional elites do with those of the royal animals, youths have imposed over time new and foreign aesthetic practices in Grassfields artistic practices.