Overall Condition: Fair to good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners. Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use. We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings. Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair: Crack on the top - see pics
The Fang face mask, painted in white and displaying wear both on its surface and interior, signifies its age and extensive use. Noteworthy for its history within Fang culture, particularly in the Ngil society, this mask embodies elegant abstractions of the human face, featuring refined curves emphasizing orbital ridges and a distinctive long, tapered nose leading to a discreetly carved mouth. Used in rituals and social control activities, these masks were eventually prohibited by French colonial authorities in 1910 due to their role in identifying sorcerers. Another Fang mask, the Ngontangan, referred to early European women missionaries and held ritual significance, although its symbolic weight has waned. Despite their limited numbers, the refined forms and abstractions of Ngil masks captivated early modern European artistic sensibilities, serving as inspiration for sculptors. The white color of the mask not only accentuates its pure forms but also marks its spiritual significance within Fang culture.