African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask
Fang Mask (N° 24320)
Intended to unmask sorcerers, this type of African mask endowed with a severe physiognomy, was carved on the eve of ceremonies. Accompanied by words, gestures, dances and sacrifices, it also intervened during initiations out of sight of the profane. Matte grainy patina. Minimal abrasions, red ocher highlights, minor losses.
The appearance of these masks generally coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of the ancestors), in the middle of the night, could cause terror. This type of mask was used by the ngil male society which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft.
The ngil, among the Fang of the region extending from Yaoundé in Cameroon to Ogooué in Gabon, was a rite of purifying fire symbolized by the gorilla. Guarantor of peace, he also fixed the seasons, the location where the villages were to be established, and the conditions of exploitation of the agricultural land.
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