Ngil Mask


Gabon , Guinea , Cameroon

This Ngil mask comes from the Fang societies. Fang migrated from the northwest and today are scattered across Cameroon, Guinea and Gabon. Their social structure is based on the clan and family. Cohesion among the eighty or so Fang clans is maintained through powerful religious and judiciary societies called the So and Ngil. The stern, uncompromising mouth depicted in these masks was well designed to induce obedience to orders. The Ngil society disappeared with the beginning of the colonization of Gabon

The Ngil masks were worn by members of the Ngil during the initiation of new members and the persecution of wrong-doers. Masqueraders, clad in raffia costumes and attended by helpers, would materialize in the village after dark, illuminated by flickering torchlight. Fang masks are painted white with facial features often outlined in black. The mask's white color marks its spiritual identity, invoking the power of the ancestors.


Height : 13″ (33cm)