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Fang mask

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13282000This typical Ngil society Fang mask is characterised by its heart-shaped face with half-closed eyes and an uncarved mouth. This typical Ngil society Fang mask is characterised by its heart-shaped face with half-closed eyes...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.319_b_0.jpg?itok=D_MdMkIsLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
1000664At dawn or at dusk, the chief would appear shouting, covered in kaolin and wearing this mask, often preceded by a young boy ringing a bell, encouraging the population to hide.At dawn or at dusk, the chief would appear shouting, covered in kaolin and wearing this mask, often...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition_portrait/public/multimedia/2008.4.319_c_0.jpg?itok=0j29TNd8Le Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
13282000Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.319_d_0.jpg?itok=qWaKUCixLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
13282000« When this Pahouin fetish mask appeared, Pahouin women had to hide in their hut. If they failed to comply, they could be sentenced to death. This mask was brought back from a Pahouin village (Gabon) by M. Millot, in 1894. »« When this Pahouin fetish mask appeared, Pahouin women had to hide in their hut. If they failed...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.319_e.jpg?itok=Rh2NRG09Le Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
13282000Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.319_f_1.jpg?itok=5RcJGY7fLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
853944Click here to view a map of GabonClick here to view a map of GabonZoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/multimedia/cartegabon.pngLe Havre Museum of Natural History

Ngil society Fang mask

 

  • Origin : Gabon

  • Ethnic group : Fang

  • Date : 19th century, collected in 1894 by M. Millot

  • Materials : wood

  • Dimensions : 32 cm x 19.5 cm x 17.5 cm

  • Inventory number : 2008.4.319

  • Donated by M. Millot, July 1902

     

Previous label : « When this Pahouin fetish mask appeared, Pahouin women had to hide in their hut. If they failed to comply, they could be sentenced to death. This mask was brought back from a Pahouin village (Gabon) by M. Millot, in 1894. »

 

This typical Ngil society Fang mask is characterised by its heart-shaped face with half-closed eyes and an uncarved mouth.

 

At dawn or at dusk, the chief would appear shouting, covered in kaolin and wearing this mask, often preceded by a young boy ringing a bell, encouraging the population to hide. The Ngil society had a social regulating fonction centered on the search of illicit witch actions and the persecution of wrong-doers. Its members could use any means necessary during their investigations, including torture, and could also sentence people to death.

 

This mask was donated to the Museum by M. Millot, a local banker keen on African ethnological curiosities, who travelled several times to Gabon for business. It is one of the oldest Fang masks in the collections, even though it has probably never been used by members of the Ngil society (for example, it is not covered in kaolin). It is probably a copy, since many were produced at the time, with the purpose of being sold to Europeans.

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