African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask
Ngil's Fang Mask (N° 19698)
African art and tribal masks related to justice
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Housed under a high forehead, small narrow eyes give an imperturbable physiognomy to this mask where the mouth is no longer visible. The traditional scarifications are engraved on the surface.
The appearance of these masks coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of the ancestors), in the middle of the night, could cause fright. This type of mask was used by the male ngil society which no longer exists today. The ngil was a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. Erosions.
The wearers 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.
so and the ngil .
Following his journey to the region in 1851, Paul du Chaillu drew a portrait of the Fang in his book entitled "Voyages et aventures en Afrique équatoriale". His account, long considered false, depicts the Fang as warlike, superstitious and anthropophagous. It is only later that the accuracy of his testimony will be admitted and recognized by his peers.
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