African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask
Ngil's Fang Mask (N° 19703)
Ex-collection French African art.
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The appearance of these masks usually 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 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 Fang,formerly called Pahouin, are divided into several subsets in three countries, Cameroon, Gabn, and the mainland of Equatorial Guinea. Mainly hunters, they also practice agriculture.
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. 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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