H: 38 cm (1' 3")
Gabon, 19th - early 20th century or earlier
An elongated oval mask made of very fragile wood with a central ridge, indicating its association with a gorilla. The skeletal skull of this primate is depicted in the design. The face is traditionally painted with kaolin white, which is associated with ancestors and the afterlife. They were danced at night in the light of a fire by members of the Ngil secret society, who aimed to create fear and terror. They were responsible for enforcing punishment for crimes within the village. Another feature of the mask is the use of real animal teeth in the mouth opening. This particular mask has damage to the back of the head, but despite this damage, it was still used in performances, demonstrating its importance to the secret society. The breaks have been repaired with two brass plates. Other age-related damage is mainly present at the edge of the mask, mouth, and ears.
Published in the book: "DIE SAMMLUNG Gerhard F. Vesely", page 174
Provenance: Josef F. Vesely (1900 - 1987)
Estimate: € 10000 - 14000