This mask was carved in the style of the Fang people of Gabon. This style of mask is known as ngil. This particular piece has a thin layer of metal plating along the forehead. It measures 24 inches tall and weighs 2 pounds. There is some cracking, scuffing and wear and tear throughout – please inspect photos. Stand not included.
|Type of Object||
|Country of Origin||
wood, pigment, sheet metal, vegetable fiber
Some cracking, scuffing and general wear and tear throughout.
About the Fang People
“Fang tribespeople migrated from the north-west during the 18th and 19th centuries and are today scattered across southern Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. They are principally hunters, but also farm. Fang social structure is based on the clan, a group of individuals with a common ancestor, and on the family. They also maintain tribal cohesion through the So and Gil societies. Each family possessed a Byeri, or reliquary box, in which the bones of famous ancestors were kept. The box was kept by the Esa, the eldest man in the family. “
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.
About the Ngil Mask
The Ngil (gorilla) mask was made by a secret society, also called Ngil. This was a men’s only society whose purpose was to initiate new members and persecute adulterers, thieves, debtors, poisoners, etc. The mask would be painted with white kaolin, a type of clay, and is thought to invoke the power of the deceased to eradicate evil. During the ceremony, the dancer would carry a torchlight which would illuminate the white mask in the dark, and bring terror to those watching.