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African art - Fang:

The Fang ethnic group occupies Cameroon as well as Gabon. They are also called Pahouins, which means conquering warriors. They invaded various villages from the Sanaga in Cameroon to the Ogooué in Gabon between the 18th and 20th centuries. Among the Fang, certain things are a priority. These include maintaining social identity, surviving in a hostile environment and communicating with the spirits in order to keep them away from the living. However, this ethnic group lacks political unity. Some Fang works are particularly illustrious. For example, the Fang justice masks, covered with kaolin, whose whitish colour recalls the power of the ancestors, were used by the Ngil male society. Its members were in charge of initiation rites and the fight against black magic. They came out masked at night to point out delinquents. The Byéri, reliquary chests, are also famous among the Fang. They were stored in the hut of the oldest man in the village, the esa, in a dark and smoky corner, surrounded by protective sculptures. The Byeri went out during the initiation rites of the So society.


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

The remarkable Fang sculptors and blacksmiths in African art .

This helmet mask is topped with elements associated with traditional headdresses between which heads are carved, while faces alternate on the walls of the mask. Geometric patterns are hollowed out, arranged in plastrons under the faces. Abrasions and desiccation cracks.
This variant of Fang masks is known as Ngontang (or Ngontanga), "the figure of the white man's daughter" . Appearing in the 1920s, it represents the spirits of the dead visiting in the form of a young white woman from the afterlife and was used to locate witch doctors and those who abuse spiritual powers. These masks are now also brought out for celebrations, funerals, birthdays, and for important decisions in the village. It was also worn ...


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

Spectacular elongation of the face for this Fang mask ending in a pout. The African Fang mask, sculpted on the eve of the ceremonies, was intended to unmask the sorcerers. Accompanied by words, gestures, dances and sacrifices, it was also used during initiations out of sight of the profane. Granular surface coated with locally abraded kaolin. Intact raffia border.
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 fright. This type of mask was used by the Ngil male society which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil was a rite of purifying fire symbolized by the gorilla. As a guarantor of ...


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Byeri Fang reliquary ancestor statue
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Fang statue

Fang statues within African art linked to the cult of the Byeri. This anthropomorphic sculpture, intended to be placed in a reliquary basket by the posterior stalk, has a concave face with a prognathic jaw. The importance of the lineage is symbolized by the umbilical tenon and the sex. Two-tone shiny patina, cracks and old restoration on the pelvis.
The boxes containing the relics of illustrious ancestors were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". Surmounted by a statue or a head that acted as a guardian of the "byeri" boxes, they were stored in a dark corner of the hut, supposed to divert evil influences to someone else. Samples were also taken from the figures for therapeutic purposes. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked ...

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

African art and tribal masks related to justice
. A concave face surmounted by a flat cap with a reduced crest distinguishes this Fang mask. Grooves divide the upper forehead. Satin patina. Abrasions.
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.
Small accidents and abrasions, slight cracks.

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 ...


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

African art and tribal masks related to justice
. A semi-spherical forehead houses narrow slits for the eyes, while a powerful nose continues to a horizontal mouth with tight lips. The ensemble imprints a solemn physiognomy. The traditional scarifications of the clan are incised 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.
Small accidents and abrasions, slight cracks.

The wearers of these masks, always in large numbers, made their appearance at night , lit by torches . Their intervention was ...


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Fang Byeri reliquary ancestor figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Fang statue

The African art of the Byeri cult is illustrated by various anthropomorphic sculptures that act as "guardians" and embody the ancestor. This female figure has a prognathic jaw that highlights a wide open mouth. Under the joined hands, the tubular excrescence of the abdomen symbolizes the lineage. Satin patina locally grainy. The boxes containing the relics of illustrious ancestors were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". Surmounted by a statue or a head that acted as a guardian of the "byeri" boxes, they were stored in a dark corner of the hut, supposed to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the "So" society. During festivals, the statues were separated from their boxes and carried in ...

Figure of Fang Ntumu ancestor of the Byeri
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Fang statue

A prognathic jaw emphasizing a large pout, stocky and rounded limbs evoking the morphology of the newborn, this African sculpture illustrates the Ntumu style statuary of the regions between Gabon, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Shiny black patina, eroded areas.
Among the Fang of Cameroon and Gabon, each family has a "Byeri", or reliquary box, in which the bones of the ancestors are kept. These boxes were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". The reliquary boxes were surmounted by a statue or a head that acted as a guardian of the "byeri" boxes. These were kept in a dark corner of the hut, and were intended to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the "So" society. During the ...

Ngil s Fang Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask

Rituals of justice and African masks Fang. Housed under an ample rounded forehead, the concave, stretched face is prolonged by a narrow, curved chin accusing a severe pout.

Locally abraded granular dry skin.
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 in northwestern Gabon, southern Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea.  This secret society was responsible for 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 ...


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Ngil s Fang Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask

African art and tribal masks related to justice
. 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.


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Ngil s Fang Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask

Partially damaged by storage conditions, this Ngil mask reflects the severity of the ritual of justice. Thin incisions deeply housed under the arches, incised motifs evoking one of the cut teeth, form an impenetrable face.
Bois soft, abraded surface, velvety dry patina.
The appearance of these kaolin-coated masks (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 in northwestern Gabon, southern Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea.  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 ...


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Ngil s Fang Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask

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A classic example of the African Fang mask, a mask of justice whose gravity is expressed by a long face, narrow pupils, and a pouting mouth. Engraved motifs on the gray surface evoke the tribal scarifications in use. Abraded patina, erosions. 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 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 bearers of these masks, always in large numbers, made their appearance at night, lit by torches. Their intervention was also linked to the ...


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Ngil s Fang Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask

Ex-collection French African art.
. 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 ...


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Ngil s Fang Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Ngil Mask

This African mask , from the Fang, sports a severe physiognomy: its stretched face is imposing. A broad rounded forehead extends from small eyes, housed below arched eyebrows, accompanied by a long, slender nose. The face ends with a serious pout. This mask has scarification marks traditional to the Fang of the Ngil . Light, matte, powdery patina, coated with kaolin.

These masks were made for ritual purposes, by the exclusively male ngil society, established in northwestern Gabon, southern Cameroon as well as Equatorial Guinea. The ngil was concerned with fighting witchcraft. Its function was also initiation. The ngil was a rite of passage by fire, symbol of purification and embodied by the gorilla. Appearing at night and in large numbers, the wearers of this mask ...


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Figure of ancestor of reliquary Byeri Fang
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Fang

Ex-collection of French African art.

Several variants of Fang Byeri statues make up African art.
Female figure embodying an ancestor, éyéma-o-byeri , with an object of power, surmounting a projecting umbilicus. The voluminous head is strongly eroded: the Fang used to mix grated wood with their therapeutic remedies, which they ritually took from the sculptures. Oiled black patina.
The peoples known as the Fang, or "Pahouins", described as conquering warriors, invaded by successive leaps and bounds, from village to village, the entire vast region between the Sanaga in Cameroon and the Ogooué in Gabon, between the 18th and early 20th centuries.
Deep in their huts, in a dark and often smoky corner, the chiefs of lineages preciously stored their Byéri, the relic ...

Ngil s Fang Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask

Rituals of justice and African masks Fang. Ample concave orbits under a high rounded forehead, imposing olfactory organ, simple incision indicating the mouth discreetly housed in the end of the chin, for this fang mask that has helped to inspire modern artists. Powdery matte patina.


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

In the category of great African masks, the Fang masks of Gabon, usually coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of the ancestors), intervened in the middle of the night, their appearance arousing fright. They were 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 consisted of a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla.
Velvety matte patina, golden.
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 ...


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Large Fang mask of the Ngil
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask

Ex-collection of French African art.
Rituals of justice and African masks Fang. The facial features of this fang mask are underlined up to the gaping, toothed mouth of the lateral extension of a thick fringe of eyebrows. The eyelids coated in red ochre are bordered with perforations for vision, while a significant relief forms the nose.
Dense wood, abraded dry patina. Cracks of desiccation, erosions.
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 society ngil in the northwest of Gabon, in the south of Cameroon, and in Equatorial Guinea.  This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft.  The ngil was a ...


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Fang of Byeri Reliquary
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Statue Fang

Pahoune sculpture in African art
Property of a Fang lineage, this high-walled bark receptacle, with two small coves, contained the relics of the ancestors, whose spirit is represented by the figures depicted sitting on the lid. One of the guardians solemnly presents an offering horn. Attributes such as the protruding ventral capsule, the crest cap, the multiple necklaces, and the frequent ornamentation of brass nails, distinguish the tribal statuary of the Fang.Wood samples were taken for ritual purposes. Brilliant mahogany brown skate. In the Fang of Cameroon and those of Gabon, each family has a "Byeri", or reliquary box, in which the bones of the ancestors are preserved. These boxes were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". The reliquary boxes were topped with a ...


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Byeri reliquary keeper statuette
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statuette Fang

The tribal art of the Byeri cult is illustrated by various anthropomorphic sculptures acting as 'guardians' and embodying the ancestor. The boxes containing the relics of illustrious ancestors were kept by the oldest man in the village, the esa. Surmounted by a statue or head that acted as the guardian of the 'byeri' boxes, they were stored in a dark corner of the box, supposed to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to society. So, so. During the holidays, the statues were separated from their boxes and paraded. Pre-events were carried out on some statues for therapeutic purposes.
This statuette intended to be boxed in a basket-reliquaire by the posterior stalk, has a concave face where the prognathic ...

Fang of the Byeri Reliquary Keeper
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Statue Fang

The African art of the worship of Byeri is illustrated by various anthropomorphic sculptures acting as "garde" and embodying the ancestor. The boxes containing the relics of illustrious ancestors were kept by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". Surmounted by a statue or head that acted as the guardian of the boxes "byeri", they were stored in a dark corner of the box, supposed to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the society " So". During the holidays, the statues were separated from their boxes and paraded. Pre-events were carried out on some statues for therapeutic purposes.
This statuette was intended to be in a basket-reliquaire by the posterior peduncle. Glossy dark patina.
The ...

Ngil s Fang Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang Mask

This African Fang mask illustrates one of the many stylistic variations of the Ngil Fang masks, distinguished by their austere appearance. The face is highlighted with parallel grooves evoking the tribal scarifications in use, and the hairstyle takes up one of the many models worn by the locally abraded bleached Fang.Patine.
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. ...


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