African art > Mask > Fang Mask
Fang Mask (N° 17032)
This African Fang mask recalls the copy held at the beginning of the 20th century by the painter Maurice Vlaminck and then by André Derain. Ovoid-like, it contrasts with the long-form masks of the Ngil. The hood engraved in relief highlights a young girl's face with fine features. Remains of red pigments on one side. Abraded kaolin patina. The appearance of these masks, usually coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of ancestors), in the middle of the night, could cause dread. This type of mask was used by the male society ngil which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil was a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. The wearers of these masks, always in large numbers, appeared at night, lit by torches. Their intervention was also linked to the judicial function by identifying the culprits of the bad deeds within the village. The Fang ethnic group, established in a region stretching from Yaounde in Cameroon to Ogooué in Gabon, has never had political unity. Clan cohesion was maintained through religious and judicial associations such as so and ngil .
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