Masque anthropomorphe "ngil"
|Michel Gaud, Saint Tropez, France
Bruno Frey, Arnay le Duc, France
|H. 41,5 cm||8500 EUR|
wood, kaolin, black paint, remains of plant fibre, the mouth seems to have been added afterwards, slightly dam., insect caused damage, drilled holes around the rim broken out. The white painted face masks "ngil" represent a mask tradition, extinguished since the middle of the 20th century. What is generally understood is that these masks were danced by members of the male "ngil" society during the initiation of new members and during 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. They were also used in dance performances that were meant to help discover members of the community who were responsible for practicing black magic, or malicious sorcery. The typical face painting with white earth, reminds of the power of the ancestors and implies that the mask represents the spirit of a deceased.