In Cameroon, when a young Fali man becomes engaged, he makes a doll (known as "ham pilu") from wood and decorates it with hair, beads, and other small objects. 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. With numerous modern representations which are poorly crafted in the art market, it is refreshing to see this genuine, antique example with embedded cowry shells, glass beads (the more beads, the more prestige and "wealth" is envisioned for the child) and even locks with blue bead tips. This is a wonderful piece on a custom made base which is included; the long neck gives it an alertness, a presence not seen in many of these dolls. The cowrie shells are quite old and the beads are a mix of styles/ages.
Ex. Galerie Frank van Craen, Brussels, Ex. Private European Collection Vetted as antique and authentic by a committee of tribal art experts and exhibited at BRUNEAF, January 2017