Painted Screen, Baltu

11008046-1999_003_054_Apa_ARC.tif

Title

Painted Screen, Baltu

Keywords

Painting

Date

late 19th-early 20th Century

Context

West Africa
Mambila

Medium/Dimensions

Pigment, raffia palm pith
32 x 45 in. (81.3 x 114.3 cm)

Object Number

1999.003.054

Description

Mambila painted screens, called baltu, are extremely rare and fragile objects. Painted in natural pigments on a wooden canvas of porous raffia palm pith, these screens once decorated small communal shrine houses. These shrines served as storehouses for ritual objects (masks and fiber costumes, pottery, and musical instruments) used by the Suaga society to ensure social harmony between men and women, and in performances that promoted bountiful agricultural yields. This symbolism extends to the appearance of the shrines that resemble miniature granaries since, like actual ones, they were raised on stilts. Baltu screens were installed on the facade, along with numerous raffia pith figures carved in male-female pairs.

Represented on this baltu are male and female figures encompassed by a rainbow. The circles at the top left and right represent the sun and the moon. The triangle seen above the figures is a symbol of the village. Thus, the symmetrical arrangement of motifs emphasizes balance between the genders and the placement of the human world (the village) within a greater cosmological realm.

Credit Line

Ex coll. William S. Arnett

Exhibits/Publications

Cameroon Art: Selections from the Collection of William Arnett, The Art Gallery, Kennesaw State College, Kennesaw, Georgia, January 30 - March 22, 1989|
Art of Nigeria from the William S. Arnett Collection, Michael C. Carlos Museum, October 15, 1994 - January 2, 1995|
The Art of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Michael C. Carlos Museum, November 8, 1997 - January 4, 1998|
African Cosmos: Stellar Arts (travelling show), National Museum of African Art, June 20 - December 9, 2012; Newark Museum, February 27 - August 11, 2013; Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 31 - June 21, 2015
George Nelson Preston, Sets, Series & Ensembles in African Art (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1985), 61, number 56.|
Cameroon Art: Selections from the Collection of William Arnett (Kennesaw: The Art Gallery, Kennesaw State College, 1989), 3, number 59.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum Handbook (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 1996), 104.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 104.|
Christine Mullen Kreamer, African Cosmos: Stellar Arts (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, 2012), 142, catalogue 7.33.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Michael McKelvey.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

No

Citation

“Painted Screen, Baltu,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed June 19, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/8041.

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