The impressive mask above from the Hemingway African Gallery at the Manhattan Art and Antiques Center was crafted by the Fang Tribe, who mostly inhabit the equatorial rainforest in Gabon, Africa. These imposing and sophisticated creations have been highly prized by collectors since they were introduced into the market in the early 1900s.
The Fang people used these masks in their secret societies with male members donning them during the initiation of new members and the persecution of wrongdoers. In elaborate ceremonies, masqueraders, clad in raffia costumes would appear in the village after dark, each bearing a torchlight. Varying in style and purpose, some masks were also used in dance society and elaborate storytelling. Bearing a rich history that dates back to Paleolithic times, the masks still hold a powerful influence over Fang society.
The Hemingway African Gallery can be reached here.