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Tribal art > African mask > Fang mask

Fang mask (N° 22069)

African Fang mask depicting a face with an austere physiognomy, topped with tri-directional horizontal tubular shells. This type of hairstyle was attributed to the Tsogho/Fang by Peter Stephan ("Les icons du Bwiti" B. Goy). A label affixed to the inside of the mask by a well-known Belgian collector reads "1938". This owner wishing to remain anonymous acquired his objects from the galleries of Sablon, Brussels.
Light wood with a thick layer of locally abraded kaolin. Very good condition despite some scattered 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 terror. This type of mask was used by the male ngil 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. 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 pointing out 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 political unity. Clan cohesion was maintained through religious and judicial associations such as the so and the ngil.  

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OriginCollection majeure belge.
EthnyFang
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood, raphia
Height cm34
Width19 cm
Weight0.72 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°

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