MSSU African Art Exibit : The MSSU African Art collection features a variety of authentic works of art from various tribes located throughout Central Africa. The objects in the collection range from mundane day to day grooming tools to ritualistic masks and statues.
Fang Style Ngil Mask
Object Name:
Mask, Fang, Ngil
Other Name:
Mask, Face, Fang
Place of Origin:
Fang, Gabon, Africa
Aboriginal Indigenous Art.

The Fang used masks in their secret societies. The ngil (gorilla) masks were worn by members of a male society of the same name during the initiation of new members and the persecution of wrong—doers. Masqueraders, clad in raffia costumes and attended by helpers, would materialize in the village after dark, illuminated by flickering torchlight. Fang masks, such as those worn by itinerant troubadours and for hunting and punishing sorcerers, are painted white with facial features outlined in black. Typical are large, elongated masks covered with kaolin and featuring a face that was usually heart—shaped with a long, fine nose. Apparently it has been linked with the dead and ancestors, since white is their color. The ngontang dance society also used white masks, sometimes in the form of a four—sided helmet—mask with bulging forehead and eyebrows in heart—shaped arcs. The ngontang mask symbolizes a ‘young white girl’. The so, or red antelope was connected with an initiation that lasted several months; these masks sport long horns.
Wooden Fang Ngil mask. Elongated mask with heart—shaped face, a long fine nose, the bridge of which continues past the facial area and almost to the top of mask. Small almond—shaped pierced eyes and oval—shaped open mouth. Black and white paint or patina covering entire surface area.
Guy Mace Collection, (Turblex Company)
Wood W/Patina, Paint or Pigments
Ritually Used
Carving / Painting
Art Department, Missouri Southern State University
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Front ViewFront View
Right Side ViewRight Side View
Left Side ViewLeft Side View
Rear ViewRear View