African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang mask

Fang mask (N° 21578)

This African mask of the Fang is carved from a rectangular block forming a face in which the forehead occupies almost half of the face. The deeply recessed superciliary arches and the powerful nose, as well as the discretion of the organs of sight and speech, mark the physiognomy of this large mask of austere severity.
Velvety matt patina, cracks of desiccation and abrasions. 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 fear. 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 bearers of these masks, always in large numbers, made their appearance at night, lit by torches. Their intervention was also linked to the judicial function by designating the culprits of bad deeds within the village. The Fang ethnic group, established in a region stretching from Yaoundé in Cameroon to Ogooué in Gabon, has never had a political unity. Clan cohesion was maintained through religious and judicial associations such as the so and the ngil .  

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OriginRécolté in-situ 2003
EthnyFang
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood
Height cm66
Width25 cm
Weight2.80 Kg
Socle inclusOptional

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