Fang Baboon Mask, Gabon
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The Fang peoples spread through Cameroon, Gabon, and the continental part of Equatorial New Guinea. Given to them by European travelers, the name Fang is not used by the people. Along with their fine sculpture, the Fang expressed themselves through bodily decoration. Common characteristics of male tribal decoration are teeth filed to points and sometimes blackened, long plaited hair decorated with white beads and copper or irons rings on the ends, and feather headdresses. The woman had small bodies which they smeared with red ointment and tattooed. Like the men, they also frequently filed their teeth to points. In general, the Fang had an overall athletic appearance. Before the 19th century, the Fang were a migratory tribe as they only stayed in one location for a few years. Due to this, their material culture was minimal and they made use of the different resources in each location. As the Fang became to stay in each location for greater periods of time, their art became increasingly ornate.
The Fang made gorilla masks, which were worn be members of an all male secret society during a new member’s initiation.
D:9" W:8" H:18" (including base)
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