By Christopher D. Roy
University of Iowa

Enthronment of Jinabo II, the late King of Kom, Northwest Province of Cameroon. Photo by Hans-Joachim Koloss.

In royal courts art often served as memorials to deceased rulers, validating the current ruler’s power by reminding the court and the people of his illustrious royal ancestry. Here King Jinabo II touches one of the figures that represent his royal ancestors, the king, the queen mother, and the king’s first wife, in a ceremony in which the new king appeared to his subjects for the first time since his enthronement. During the long period of time when the figure of the king was absent from the community, following its theft and sale in the United States, the community had suffered innumerable disasters and hardships. There was a great deal of rejoicing and celebration when the figure was finally returned to Kom.