Cameroon Fang Justice mask


Cameroon Fang Justice mask

A superb Fang Justice Mask with a prominent quarter sphere
shape forehead, an elongated and concave face of perfect
volumetric symmetry, double semicircle arches of the eye
sockets forming a prominent cap beginning above the eyes
extending itself along the cheeks to stop at the chin. Second mask on the forehead.

Dimensions (H) 49cm (W) 20cm (D) 13cm

In stock


Cameroon Fang Justice mask

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 a bulging forehead

and eyebrows in heart-shaped arcs.

The ensemble of Fang peoples

practice a cult devoted to ancestor lineages, the Bieri, whose aim is to both protect

themselves from the deceased and to recruit their aid in matters of daily life.

This familial cult does not monopolize the Fang’s religious universe,

for it coexists with other beliefs and rituals of a more collective character.

It is the Bieri, or ancestor sculpture, which has most obviously given rise

to the making of remarkable wooden sculpture. The statuary of the Fang

can be classified into three main groups: heads on long necks, half-figures,

and full figures, standing or seated. Carved with great simplicity,

at the same time they exhibit a high degree of sophistication in the coordination of bulbous forms.

The neck is often a massive cylindrical form.

The arms have various positions: hands clasped in front of the body

(sometimes holding an object); held in front of the chest or attached to it;

hands resting on the knees in the seated figures.

The navel is often exaggerated into a cylindrical form. Legs are short, stunted.

Usually, there is a domed, wide forehead and the eyebrows often form arcs with the nose.

The eyes are often made of metal roundlets.

The Bieri would be consulted when the village was to change location,

when a new crop was planted, during a palaver, or before going hunting, fishing, or to war.

But once separated from the reliquary chest, the sculpted object would

lose its sacred value and could be destroyed.

The ritual consisted of prayers, libations, and sacrifices offered to the ancestor,

whose skull would be rubbed with powder and paint each time.

With its large head, long body, and short extremities,

the Fang Bieri had the proportion of a newborn,

thus emphasizing the group’s continuity with its ancestor and with the

three classes of the society: the “not-yet-born,” the living, and the dead.

The relics were essentially skull fragments, or sometimes complete

skulls, jawbones, teeth, and small bones. The Bieri also served

for therapeutic rituals and, above all, for the initiation of young males

during the great so festival.

This style of Fang mask

is used in the Ngil Association, which was active until the beginning of the

20th century. In addition to conflicts between rival clans, Ngil’s initiates

danced this mask to protect individuals against witchcraft,

The mask is considered terrifying because it personified a semi-human being.

The type is distinguished by the elongated shape and the broad arched forehead,

the heart-shaped face, and the small protruding mouth.

The white pigment was made from kaolin, which would have healing properties.