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Dimensions: L:20.5in W:7.9in D:5.5in
This mask is created by the Fang people of Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon. It is typically carved from wood and painted white, often with black or red geometric patterns and often lately glass beads adorning the surface. The white color symbolizes purity, light, and the spirit world, while the contrasting patterns may represent various meanings or spiritual forces. The mask is usually used during rites of passage initiation ceremonies by the Ngil secret society. The Ngil secret society is a powerful initiation and enforcement group within the Fang community. The society's primary role is to maintain social order, administer justice, and protect against witchcraft and malevolent spirits. The purpose for this mask is to strike fear into wrongdoers and to identify individuals accused of crimes or transgressions within the community.
About the Tribe
The Fang tribe also spelled Fãn is a Bantu-speaking ethnic group living in the forests south of the Sanaga River at the southernmost tip of Cameroon, the mainland of Equatorial Guinea, and the forests south of the Ogooué River estuary in northern Gabon. They often retain the bones and skulls of their ancestors because they believe that these skeletal remains are still in power. This power is extremely powerful in the tribe's daily activities and important moments such as initiation rites, or in cases of conflict or death, or for advice on more mundane matters such as hunting or fishing. The Fang referred to this practice as bieri, and they usually kept only male ancestor relics in the bark containers.
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