Art, Crafts, Lifestyles, People

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Books: Art and Crafts

Hans Knöpfli is an author of four books about crafts and lifestyles of the people of the Grasslands of Cameroon. I have not found a better presentation of the Cameroon crafts anywhere.

Crafts and Technologies (left) is a great book about the craft of Grasslands of Cameroon. It contains chapters on drum-making, horn-carving, lost-wax casting, traditional pottery and raphia-weaving. This book, published in 1997 (ISBN: 0861591070), is available from the British Museum Company. To find it there type OP107 in the "enter code or keyword" box. You can also find it on, a British sibling of

Sculpture and Symbolism, Basel Mission (1999) (right) is the second in the series Crafts and Technologies: Some Traditional Craftsmen of the Western Grasslands of Cameroon. This is one of the best books about craft. It contains chapters on traditional woodcarving, symbols and carving on the thrones and stools, blacksmiths and making charcoal.

Baskets and Calabashes, Palms and People, Basel Mission (2001), (left) is the third book in the series. It describes the basketmaking, making of utensils, mortars and pestles, as well as making of palm oil and tapping raphia palm for palm wine.

Living in Style: Music and Musical Instruments, Traditional Religion, Native Laws and Customs, Basel Mission (2001), (right) is the final book in the series. It presents a rich and vibrant culture of the Western Grasslands of Cameroon.

All four books are available online at The books 2, 3, and 4 can be also ordered from
Basel Mission "Zur Kalebasse", Missionsstrasse 21, 4003 Basel, Switzerland, Tel. 061 260 22 78, Fax: 061 260 22 08

Jean-Paul Notue, Bianca Triaca collaborated on four books on four museums in Cameroon: Babungo and Mankon in the North West Province; Baham and Bandjoun in the West Province. The four books are the result of efforts to preserve cultural heritage of Cameroon. The project included a construction of a museum. Jean Paul Notue was responsible for the training for the museum curators, the fieldwork, and the publication of the results.

Treasures Of The Sculptor Kings in Cameroon: Babungo - Memory, Arts and Techniques, 5 Continents (2006) is a book about arts and crafts of Babungo. In addition to an introduction written by Notue the book contains five essays by different authors. The essays describe history and legend of Babungo, functions and meanings of objects (including the meaning of some symbols), artists, life and religion. Several color plates of objects from the museum and the catalogue of the museum pieces complement the book.

Mankon: Arts, Heritage and Culture from the Mankon Kingdom, 5 Continents Editions (2006) is a book about arts and crafts of Mankon (Bamenda). Jean Paul Notue wrote the foreword and an introduction. Five essays, written by the museum curators,

discuss history, social structure, functions and meaning of objects, as well as religion. The color plates and a catalogue of the museum pieces complement the book.

Baham, Arts, Memoire et Pouvoir dans le Royaume de Baham, 5 Continents Editions (2006) is a book in French about craft, arts, lifestyles, religion and secret societies. There is also a short chapter about indigo dyed cloth "ndop" (douop). Color plates and a catalogue of the museum pieces complement the book.

Bandjoun: Tresors royaux au Cameroun. 5 Continents Editions (2005) is a book in French. It contains a chapter about history of Bandjoun written by Notue. Chapters about local artists and secret societes were written by the curators of the museum. Color plates and a catalogue of the museum pieces complement the book.

Suzanne Preston Blier, The Royal Arts of Africa: The Majesty of Form, Prentice Hall (2003).

The book describes the cultures of Benin, Yoruba, Dahomey, Asante, Cameroon Grasslands, Kongo, and Kuba. Over 200 pictures, many in color, show the richness of African crafts and art.

John Gillow, African Textiles, Chronicle Books (2003).

A survey of textile arts from across the continent examining materials, dyes, decorations, patterns, and techniques. Illustrated with over 500 color photographs and drawings, this is a great source for those interested in textile design and the traditional arts of Africa.

Last updated on November 11, 2010. Maintained by Andrzej Gutek.