The secret art of the Bambui Royal Treasury, Western Grassfields, Cameroon
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The cultural security officers, Bechin- toh, of the Bambui Kingdom initiated the author of this chapter into the kwifor, one of the most secret regulatory societies in the kingdom and Cameroon Grassfields in 2004. The initiation came at a time when I was undertaking fieldwork for my PhD, and therefore gave me rights and privileges that have shaped and continue to shape my research on Cameroon and African art. For instance, my admission into kwifor gave me access to virtually all the sacred and secret royal objects in the royal treasury or traditional palace museum and in the homes of notables; entry into the kwifor storage facilities in the kwifor compound, not only in Bambui but also in other kingdoms; the right to participate in all rituals associated with secrecy across the kingdom; the right to advise the fon or king and key members of his cabinet on artistic and cultural heritage affairs; and lastly, it gave me the opportunity to oversee the implementation of the ongoing Bambui Museum and Ecotourism Project.