African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Ngil Mask
Ngil's Fang Mask (N° 19712)
This African mask , from the Fang, sports a severe physiognomy: its stretched face is imposing. A broad rounded forehead extends from small eyes, housed below arched eyebrows, accompanied by a long, slender nose. The face ends with a serious pout. This mask has scarification marks traditional to the Fang of the Ngil . Light, matte, powdery patina, coated with kaolin.
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These masks were made for ritual purposes, by the exclusively male ngil society, established in northwestern Gabon, southern Cameroon as well as Equatorial Guinea. The ngil was concerned with fighting witchcraft. Its function was also initiation. The ngil was a rite of passage by fire, symbol of purification and embodied by the gorilla. Appearing at night and in large numbers, the wearers of this mask designated the guilty parties in the village. They thus had important judicial power. The Fang constitute a large ethnic group located from Yaoundé in Cameroon to Ogooué, in Gabon. The unity of this tribe was ensured by two societies; one religious, the so , embodied by the red antelope, the other judicial, the ngil .
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