Pygmy Sculpture from Cameroon
Product detail: Wood and brass
Cameroon Pygmy. First inhabitants of the Cameroonian forest, the pygmies are an illiterate, primitive and totally marginalized minority, both socially and economically or politically. These are shorter people due mainly to their diets, environmental conditions and climate. They master the forest and live mainly by hunting and gathering. A pygmy is a member of an ethnic group whose average height is unusually short; many anthropologists define pygmy as a member of any group where adult men are on average less than 150 cm (4 feet 11 inches) tall. Other anthropologists do not agree to group peoples based on stature as height is neither an accurate reflection of culture nor genetics. A member of a slightly taller group is frequently termed “pygmoid”. The term is best associated with peoples of Central Africa, such as the Aka, Efé and Mbuti.
African pygmies live in several ethnic groups in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo (ROC), the Central African Republic, Cameroon, the Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia. Most Pygmy communities are partially hunter-gatherers, living partially but not exclusively on the wild products of their environment. They trade with neighbouring farmers to acquire cultivated foods and other material items; no group lives deep in the forest without access to agricultural products. It is estimated that there are between 250,000 and 600,000 Pygmies living in the Congo rainforest. However, although Pygmies are thought of as forest people, the groups called Twa may live in open swamp or desert.