Photos The Fon, or King, of Bafoussam Kingdom, Njitack Ngompé Pelé, wears a necklace of ivory armlets.Prince Amadou Njoya stands in front of the traditional, dome-shaped, thatched meeting house for the king and his nobles in the Bandjoun Kingdom.The Fon of Babungo Kingdom, Ndofoa Zofoa III, sits on his throne in his palace surrounded by a collection of royal sculptures. His feet rest on a carved ivory tusk placed on top of leopard skins.Left: The Fon of Oku Kingdom, Setieh II, sits on his carved wooden throne, covered with a handwoven indigo wax resist textile. Right: The Fon of Fongou Kingdom sits on a throne of cowrie shells behind the king’s table featuring leopards symbolizing royal power.Fon Abumbi II, of the six-hundred-year-old Bafut Kingdom, stands at the entrance to the ritual meeting place for the ancestors, called Achum.The Fon of the Bafoussam Kingdom, Njitack Ngompé Pelé, is seated in state under a royal umbrella, flanked by carved wooden elephant tusks. Placed in front of the throne is a double iron gong from the secret Kwifon society, responsible for his protection.The royal meeting house of the Bafoussam Kingdom features bamboo walls and wooden house posts depicting ancestral figures and animals. The statues represent guardians of the palace and village.The wife of the Fon of Bafoussam wears a red parrot-feather hat and an indigo-dyed handwoven dress. Her hat may only be worn by members of the royal family or those of the Kwifon society. She carries two beaded fly whisks made from horse tails to indicate her status.The Kuosi elephant mask is worn by members of the secret society of the Bamileke Fon of Bafoussam. With its elaborate beaded trunk, large elephant ears, and conical hat of ancestral figures, the mask symbolizes the wealth and power of the king.The spirits of animals play an important role in the art of the Cameroon Grassland Kingdoms. The Kuosi elephant mask, danced by members of a secret society, symbolises the majesty of the Bamileke King.Bamileke dance masks from the Menkom (left) & Bafut (center and right) Kingdoms.The outer entrance to the Bangoua palace features nine symbolic turrets, one representing the king and eight representing the nobles who reign with him.Shielded from the sun by colorful umbrellas, the Fon of Foumban, Sultan Ibrahim Bombo Njoya, exits his palace with his ministers and visiting dignitaries, heralded by traditional long brass and wooden horns. The sultan is heading to the mosque for morning prayers.For her wedding in the palace, the daughter of the Fon wears a dress made of traditional indigo cloth and jewelry of leopard teeth, cowrie shells, and glass beads. She is seated in her mother’s house awaiting her Turkish husband from North Africa.On “Judgment Day,” the Bamoun Fon, dressed in royal Islamic attire, presents himself to his subjects. He is flanked by ivory elephant tusks and a double iron gong, both symbols of his power. In a six-hundred-year-old “democratic” system, his activities of the past two years are judged by his subjects. If his performance is found unsatisfactory, his subjects have the right to dethrone him and install a new king.The final day of the Ngoun festival is dedicated to a reenactment of the kingdom’s past military victories. Seven thousand of the king’s subjects dress up in both ancient military attire and contemporary costumes and parade from the palace to the war site, in a seven-hour event.As a part of the procession, raffia-clad lion masks entertain the crowds. This is one of the most important occasions for the Bamoun people to express their creativity and reinforce their culture.Left: A man wears a blowfish on top of his traditional crocheted Bamoun hat.Center: A youth sports oversized sunglasses fashioned out of cowhide. Right: A young man wears slatted pink sunglasses and shouts into a portable phone.Two fetish warriors, one carrying blackened bongo horns and another clenching a snake between his teeth, represent the Nyang Nyang society. The traditional role of this society is to threaten the enemy and protect the king.The Nyang Nyang society members of the Fongou Kingdom blacken both their bodies and bongo horns with charcoal and oil to intimidate their enemies. The bongo is a rare nocturnal antelope known for it’s magical powers.