Douala, Cameroon: Published by the author, 1952. Original photograph(s). Original photographs. Large quarto (11 x 8 3/4"). Unpaginated. pp. Full burgundy leatherette photo-album.
This unique collection is divided into two parts:
1) The first part of the collection consists of the complete 24 mounted silver gelatin photographic postcards documenting young girls from the M'Baka-Mandja* tribe being led towards areas where they are then cut with razor blades by traditional circumcisers. The no longer mandatory practice was considered a rite of passage that marked the transition to womanhood and was a requirement for all M'Baka-Mandja girls before they marry.
Each photo-card measures 3 1/2 x 5 3/8" or 5 3/8 x 3 1/2", and is mounted (2 per page) on a salmon leaf. Most of the photographs are hand-captioned on the leaf by René Pauleau** himself. The last caption is dated "Douala, Cameroun, Janvier 1952" (Douala, Cameroon, January 1952).
2. 18 original silver gelatin photographs taken by the Rene Pauleau for the later published photographic documentary cards. 15 of the originals are reproduced on the accompanying postcards; including 3 images that were not published in the documentary series. Their size varies from 2 3/4 x 3 3/4" to 3 1/4 x 4 1/2".
3.) Also with 11 large silver gelatin prints (at rear of the photo-album) showing various types of Tribal people in Guinea (Two Fula women); Sudan (a young Moor); Congo (a young woman of Pointe Noire); and Togo (an Ewe man, two Ewe women, a young woman from Atakpame, a young Moba woman, an old Bassari woman, and a young Mina woman) many of whom participated in the custom of ritual circumcision.
Each original photograph measures 7 x 5". All are captioned at verso (6 with typed captions; 4 with typed captions and stamps from the Ministère de la France d'Outre-Mer (Ministry of Overseas France), and one hand-captioned in ink)
Captions in French. Photo-album in overall good+ to very good, original photographs in very good to fine condition. vg. Item #40659
* The M'baka are a minority ethnic group in the Central African Republic and northwest Democratic Republic of Congo.
** René Pauleau was a French photo editor who came to live and work in Douala, Cameroon (French Equatorial Africa) in 1950. He took numerous pictures of ceremonies, rituals and the daily life of African tribal people thus giving an ethnographic aspect of the Dark Continent.