BEADED MALE MASK (atua ngang)|
Origin unknown: North West
Pre-colonial, first half of
the 19th century, before 1884
Wood, beads, cowries,
vegetable fiber, mesh and snail shell.
Length: 58cm, width: 40cm.
This male mask (atua
ngang) is entirely adorned with small round or tubular blue glass
beads, except for a small patch of red beads on the chin. The deep flat surface
of the face exposes the protruding tubular eyes and a big prominent nose with
open nostrils; it also has pricked up ears. The rear part of the mask has a big
round hole which is linked to an opening at the top of the hair style.
This mask was already in use
before the arrival of the Germans in Cameroon in 1884. It was used by the nda
ngang society in the komngang dance which is only
performed during the enthronement of kings.
The mask is stuffed with a
lot of medicines, which is believed to protect the entire team during the
performance. It normally possesses incredible supernatural powers capable pf
warding of evil sprits and destroying the harmful medicines, thereby purifying
the land and cleansing it from any misfortune. Curiously, in 1963 the hierarchy
of the kingdom decided to lend this mask to the mambang dance
group which with other dance groups represented Cameroon in various
performances abroad. The leading masker of the mambang dance wore it with a
feathered costume (tanga a) and ankle rattles. The dance group
was in fact part of the LEnsemble National du Cameroon which gave a series of
shows in France in 1963. It has also performed in Spain Canada and Senegal. It
is worth noting that it is used for fertility and agrarian rituals.
||district, District of Columbia
Reply to Ad