Ngi mask

Exhibits: Ancestor Cult
Tribes: Fang peoples
Location: North Gabon
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Pigment, White Kaolin, Wood

This stern face with its small severe eyes has an unusual combination of harmonious curves: The high broad convex forehead above double arched brows frames the heart-shaped concave face. Even the small narrow slits for eyes and the long monstrous triangular nose do not upset the balance. The face terminates with a broad curved slightly protruding mouth, parted with thin raised lips. To enhance the equilibrium, the face has a distinctive central axis, beginning with a projecting ridge at the summit of the head, continuing down the forehead, with three deeply incised vertical lines bisecting the center of the face along the nose, up to the deeply carved nostrils, terminating with double short lines. As a contrapuntal element, a fine geometric, decorative motif extends horizontally across the cheeks. This consists of three triangles deeply incised above three lines, carved similarly. The face has traces of the white kaolin, the color of the spirit of the dead, for despite the harmonious carving, the Ngi mask was a terrifying entity for the Fang.


L Perrois, Fang 2006, p.133

Ngi mask
Ngi mask
Ngi mask