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Fang Mask B
This mask comes from the Fang people who live in the tropical West African regions of Gabon, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Fang masks show a great range in terms of style and each type of mask has a different purpose or portrays a different character but in general, Fang masks are large, elongated and feature small eyes, scarification marks and a long fine nose.
Masks would be used during important rituals and ceremonies or purely for the purposes of entertainment. They would be worn by a dancer dressed in a cloak of raffia fibre – or similar costume – so that his body would be completely invisible and his true identity unknown. A mask such as this would not always have been worn on the face but may have been attached to a hidden wooden structure strapped to the top of the head. As a result, the ‘face’ of the dancer would seem to hover in the air, adding to the ethereal quality of the performance. On such occasions, the community would be urged by the dancer to observe the strict rules of Fang culture, most notably, to avoid any involvement with witchcraft or evil doing. Such rituals were used to maintain cohesion amoungst a community and were believed to help protect the tribe from misfortune. Tribal legends and stories were also told through the use of masked performances so that children became familiar with their heritage and history.
Size: 390mm x 210mm x 140mm
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