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Ngil's Fang Mask (N° 18690)
Clean lines and great sobriety for this African mask intended to unmask the sorcerers, sculpted on the eve of the ceremonies. A specificity: the mouth whose incisions dug in soft wood appear a regular teeth, discreetly lodged under the chin. Accompanied by words, gestures, dances and sacrifices, he also intervened during initiations out of sight of the laymen. Dull and abraded heterogeneous patina. Desication cracks, slight misses.
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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 ngil male society which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. Ngil was a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. As a guarantee of peace, he also fixed the seasons, the location where the villages were to be located, and the conditions for the exploitation of agricultural land.
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 identifying the culprits of the bad deeds within the village. The Fang ethnic group, established in a region stretching from Yaounde 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 ngil.
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