TITLE: Fang Ngil Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
COUNTRY: Gabon
ETHNICITY: Fang
DESCRIPTION: Ngil Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Purification; Secret Society; Social Control
AGE: late 20th century
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: kaolin clay

The Fang people inhabit Equatorial Guinea, northern Gabon and Cameroon and are divided between followers of their traditional animist  religion, byeri, and the Catholicism of their French colonizers. The Ngil Secret Society is responsible for social control by assembling in the night to punish sorcerers and purify the village of evil. The Society’s masks are made to resemble the powerful gorilla, and a full suit of raffia fiber is worn to enhance the effect of furriness. This mask is unusual in its relatively serene expression and the inclusion of a second ape atop the head.