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Bronze Sculpture The Lost Wax Process Tikar Tribe

First the artist moulds his work in wax, providing an outlet for the melted metal in a kind of extension. The wax core is then covered with powdered clay, when wet the substance clings tightly inside every intricate depression. On top of this first coating he adds another of rougher clay mixed with kapok floss. When everything is heated, the melted wax drains off the mould.

The smith then puts the metal in a crucible, which he adapts to the neck of the mold, carefully sealing the two parts with clay. With the crucible at the bottom, he puts everything over the flames of an open fire, which he stokes. When the metal begins to melt, the mold is turned over with a pair of pliers. The melted bronze runs into the hollow form left by the wax. When the metal is cooled, the mold is broken. The work is separated from its stem and the rough edges are removed.

Politics and History:

The Tikar had a large population, sophistication in war, government, industry and the arts, the old Tikar dynasties dominated Central and West Africa for at least three centuries before their decline in the nineteenth century. We estimate that there were more than one million Tikar people. Today there are less than 100000 in the French-speaking zone and 300000 in the English-speaking zone (Banso). They obviously met the criteria for "good slaves". They were attractive, learned quickly and had a tradition of slavery with-in their own society.

As the Tikar people attempted to abandon their traditional grassy savannahs and the plains where they were easy slave trade targets with no natural protection, they were forced to leave their villages, with slave traders on the one side and four hostile tribes on the other side, seeking revenge.

One of the strategies they applied to fight off the enemy was to dig moats around villages; these still exist in at least five kingdoms. However this strategy failed and the survivors found refuge in the forest.

The slave trade during this drained their brightest and most physically fit young people. Having been weakened by war and the slave trade, they became vulnerable to neighboring tribes who had been subjected by the Tikar for several centuries.

While much more could be known about the Tikar very little scholarship has been invested to recount their history. Their ceramic techniques, architecture and iron smelting kilns were very advanced.