Male Face Mask
Little is known about the functions of masks such as this one, since they fell out of use by 1910. It is thought that they might have had a role in boys’ initiations into adulthood.
Among the Fang, the spirits of the dead are associated with the color white, suggesting a connection with the ancestral realm. White clay (kaolin) is also used by healers in medical practices. This face mask could have been related to either set of practices.
- Culture: Fang (Betsi subgroup)
- Medium: Wood, pigment
- Place Made: Gabon
- Dates: 19th century
- Dimensions: 11 1/8 x 7 x 2 1/4 in. (28.3 x 17.8 x 5.7 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Arts of Africa
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 2011.4.6
- Credit Line: Collection of Beatrice Riese
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Fang (Betsi subgroup). Male Face Mask, 19th century. Wood, pigment, 11 1/8 x 7 x 2 1/4 in. (28.3 x 17.8 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Collection of Beatrice Riese, 2011.4.6. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Colored male face mask with carved coiffure, scalloped design above forehead, small pierced eyes, simple flat curved nose, and carved teeth. Much of white clay pigment has been abraded.
- Record Completeness: Best (83%)