Skip to Main Content »

You're currently on:

Search Site
 
Click on image above to zoom.

Fang Ngil Mask White and Red Face Gabon African Art

$650.00
Product #: 114313
US Shipping: $49.98
Add Items to Cart


Title Fang Ngil Mask White and Red Face Gabon African Art
Type of Object Face mask
Country of Origin Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon
People Fang
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age early to mid 20th century
Dimensions Height: 33 Inches
Width: 10 Inches
Depth: 7 Inches
Overall Condition Good.  Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair stained surface, small chips and scrapes


Additional Information: This well-carved African Mask with its heart-shaped face painted in white clay comes from the Fang people who are spread over a large region that includes Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and parts of southern Cameroon.  Among the Fang, white-painted African Masks identified to the Ngil society are known for their elegant abstractions of the human face. While emphasizing its pure forms, the mask's white pigment  also marks its spiritual identity. Ngil African Masks have been described as having a 'heart-shaped face' due to the facial features emphasizing refined curves of the orbital ridges above the eyes and the prominent line of the tapered nose that ended above the open mouth completing the abstraction of the face. The scarification on the lower cheeks are said to represent local scarification patterns practiced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ngil masks were worn at night during initiations and known for judicial and social control activities in searching out sorcerers, that led to their use being banned by the French in 1910. Ngil African Masks may have had ritual or ceremonial meaning in the past exorcising malevolent sorcerers but appears not to carry significant symbolic weight today. Though few in number the elegant forms and abstractions of the Ngil masks made them very attractive to early modern European artistic sensibilities serving as models for a number of sculptors.


Further Reading. Binet, J. Societes de danse chez les Fang, (Paris, 1972) Perrois, L. 'Arts du Gabon, Les arts plastiques du Bassin de l'Ogoue', Arts d'Afrique Noire. (1979) Schmalenbach, W. African Art from the Barbier-Mueller Collection, (Geneva, 1988)