African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang mask
Fang mask (N° 22448)
Intended to unmask sorcerers, this type of mask was carved on the eve of ceremonies. It translates the will to intimidate the occult powers. Accompanied by words, gestures, dances and sacrifices, it also intervened during initiations out of sight of the profane. Velvety patina. Numerous erosions.
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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 designating the culprits of bad deeds within the village. This type of mask was used by the male ngil society, a rite of purifying fire symbolized by the gorilla, which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft.
Guarantor of peace, the Ngil also fixed the seasons, the location where the villages were to be established, and the conditions for the exploitation of agricultural land.
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