Tall Fang Ngil Mask, 20th C., Gabon

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  • $465


35” tall x 13” wide x 9” deep 

 This mask is beautifully carved in a way that would deeply influence western artists of the 20th century from Picasso to Modigliani.

 Condition is slightly compromised by an unskillful repair on the back side - though no evidence of the damage is visible on the front.

from Christie’s: ‘This mask was meant to depict a terrifying entity, and it was used in ceremonies that involved spectacular dances. ‘You can view the Ngil  as agents of social control,’ explains the specialist. ‘In simple terms, the ceremonies mainly consisted of frightening those who had evil intentions.  It would have been worn by a member of the Ngil, a secret brotherhood responsible for policing and administering justice in Fang communities. ‘The Ngil  operated at night,’ says the specialist, ‘and one can only imagine the impact of a white mask such as this, as part of a full costume, emerging from the darkness.’ The white colour is made from ground kaolin, a soft clay, and refers to the spirit world. ‘