231061 - African Fang mask with Raffia - Gabon.


Very expressive african mask with Raffia from the Fang, Gabon.
This type of mask is used for entertainment of the spectators on festive occasions.
Hand carved from a single piece of wood, with color pigments, raffia fibres.
Height: 46 cm without the Raffia, only the wood part.
Great double face mask from the NGIL society from the FANG tribe of Gabon.
This mask was carved in a sublime and rustic style. With a long nose and a mouth all under the mask, half-rounded eyes with eyebrows nicely shaped and which end at the same height of the eyes. The mask is covered with a kaolin layer and a full raphia. The mask is in fair condition with traces of wear and tear. The mask is restored in the pas.t

These masks were used by the male NGIL society that no longer exists today. This secret society was responsible for the initiation and they fought against witchcraft.
The people that are called “Fang” in the geographic or ethnographic literature number 800,000 and constitute a vast mosaic of village communities, established in a large zone of Atlantic equatorial Africa comprising Cameroon, continental equatorial Guinea and nearly the whole north of Gabon, on the right bank of the Ogowe River.Historically the Fang were itinerant, and it is relatively recently that they have settled into this broad area. The migratory existence of the Fang prohibited the creation of ancestral shrines at gravesites. Instead, the remains of the important dead, in the form of the skull and other bones, were carried from place to place in a cylindrical bark box.
The great rain forest region where the Fang settled is a plateau of middle altitude, cut by innumerable waters with falls and rapids rendering navigation for the most part impossible, and with a climate typically equatorial. Fang are principally hunters but also agriculturists.
Their social structure is based on a clan, a group of individuals with a common ancestor, and on the family.