Cameroonian Handmade Products (made In Cameroon)
Jun 01, 2022 | Brinda Koundjim Mamiafo Youdjeu
Since the 19 century, most of these items used for traditional and royal ceremonies have become more diverse. However, many other countries purchase and use Cameroonian traditional items for different purposes such as decoration, furniture and as a source of outfit.
In the paragraphs below, I will set down some important handmade products, their origin and a brief background about them.
Before the 19. centurie, the Toghu was basically a royal outfit worn by chiefs and notables, both men and women, but Today, Toghu is one of the most popular traditional outfits in Cameroon. It is usually worn during weddings, traditional ceremonies in the chiefdom and festivals. Most Cameroonians abroad wear the Toghu during important ceremonies or competitions to stand out.
The toghu is made with black velvet on which pattern and decoration are embroidered by hand with thread of yellow, red, and white colors.
This outfit is worn most of the time with specific accessories like the Toghu hats and the traditional necklace. This traditional outfit cost approximately 160€ - 180€. Because of its handmade decoration, it takes time and precision for a single piece to be accomplished. The Toghu is therefore seen today as a prestigious Outfit.
You can read this article for more about the origin and meaning of toghu
These sandals from the north-west region of Cameroon are made with high quality leader and 100% handmade. They are generally worn both with a classical and traditional outfit.
It is a prestigious product in this region because of the material and the lasting life expectancy. It is very expensive and the demand is increasing as people become more aware of the quality of these sandals.
This mask has two main functions. It is worn by higher personalities of the Chiefdom in addition to the Toghu outfit for traditional dance during ceremonies, on the other hand, it is used for decoration. This product is made of 100% wood.
Vendor´s facebook page: joël artisan sculpteur
Ndu nyiet (Royal Drinking Horn)
This traditional cup is a sign of social status and rank within the community. Men within kingdoms of the Grassfields (including the Bamum, Bamileke, Bangwa and Tikar kingdoms) possess a 'title cup' (ndu nyiet), one of the most precious heirlooms passed down through the generations to the most honorable member of the family.
Family heads, village elders, commoners and women all possess drinking horns made from different materials. The vessels are used to pour and drink palm-wine during important rituals that safeguard the wellbeing of the family, community and kingdom. It is also believed that, once initiated through rituals and magic spells, the ndu nyiet holds the secrets of each family in possession of one and as such must be treated with reverence.
Ndu is present in many museums today and seen as an object of art.
Some countries in Asia like China, Japan and India also use the Ndu nyiet.
Juja hats (Tyn)
Since the early 21. century, the juju hat has become a popular interior design tool by many countries throughout the world. This object of art is usually hung on the wall either in the living room, bathroom, corridor or in any part of the house which changes the sight of your building.
Hats are basically for important ceremonies like burials and funerals in the Bamileke tribe, made from chicken feathers and hand sewn into raffia baskets, they easily fold up for easy portability from one place to another. Every 2 years in West Cameroon, there is a festival among members of a group called Nkem, where many authorities wear the tyn on their head with a traditional mask as seen in the picture below.
These hats represent hierarchy, peace, respect, power and culture.
Vendor´s website: Accueil - Home Decor Fr and private craftsmen in Cameroon
The shekere is a West percussion instrument consisting of a dried gourd with beads into a net covering the gourd. It is shaken or hit against the hands to provide sound. Natives from the north west and west region of Cameroon use this instrument for entertainment.
Shekere can be found nowadays in museums as an object of art and for decoration.
Traditional Basket bags
These vintage bags have become very modern in the Cameroonian community and in some foreign Countries.In some decades backward, they were not very expensive as today, but because of their sustainable features and their design, their prices have increased to more than 30% respectively.
Vendors website: Shop African products: dresses, shirts, decor – Afrilege and other private vendors from Cameroon
The Tam-Tam is a traditional musical instrument in the sawa tribe mostly used in ceremonies for animation. This Tam-Tam is very common in the Sawa tribe, as dancing is part of their tradition. In every ceremony, whether royal or not the Tam-Tam is always used where they are banged by the men (A sign of respect and Authority) while the womens are dancing (mens do dance also by will).The Tam-Tam is made with wood and cattle or goat hide.
Today, it has become a trend and many people use this traditional drum as a household equipment for children and adults.
In the littoral region of Cameroon, we can also find many visual artists under their exceptional painted boards on which they mostly demonstrate Cameroonian culture.
Vendor´s Instagram page: jeandavidnkot
Contact this vendor for more informations about the product
Traditional grass basket
The eastern people are the second most dancing group of Cameroon and use many dancing equipment such as the grass basket, Obum (traditional outfit made from bark) and many others. Womens use this grass basket for dancing during very important royal ceremonies and a special make-up is part of the outfit for dancing.
This basket has many functions apart from its traditional background. In some parts of Cameroon and the world, it can be used as a fruit basket as well, for decoration, as a baby changing basket and many more.
The basket is made with palm leaves, grasses and thread
This typical Hausa tribe calabash is made from the dried skin of the gourd fruit (a fleshy, typically large fruit with a hard skin).This fruit is grown in many regions of Cameroon but mostly in the Adamawa region. The Hausa use this traditional calabash for daily routine and for important events. It can be used as a drinking or water container. This product is manufactured by Hausa and the shape depends on that of the gourd.
Some calabash are used with a lid while others aren't.Those with lid does not really fit for the cup because every gourd has a unique nature and so it's quite difficult for the lid and cup to have the same dimension.
Note that before using the calabash for the first time it must be cured in order to prepare it for the consumption of any drink.
Some people use the calabash for decoration or as a dish.
It cost between 20 to 60€ depending on its nature.
For more information concerning the calabash, read this article
This hand stitched embroidery hat is a principally part of the day to day outfit of the Hausa tribe. This traditional hat has not to do with the hierarchy, since everybody can wear it. It is highly recommended in the mosque, so this is one of the places where the Hausa men and women must cover their heads.
The Hausa are known for their artisan and high quality products. They are one of the best designers in Cameroon in terms of sewing.
Demand on the Market
According to some E-Commerce platforms and Cameroon-report.com, the demand for Cameroonian traditional and handmade products rises continuously.Cameroon is highly regarded in terms of craft because of their handmade qualities and design. It's a country with powerful and hardworking craftsmen who provide sufficient satisfaction to their potential customers.
The most valued and most recommended products are those for decoration, many foreigners are mostly interested in such products.
Please get in contact with Rural handmade if you are willing to purchase any of the above products.
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