Ngon Crest Mask
Bekom people, Cameroon Grasslands
early 20th Century
The most emblematic ritual object of the Menang, a secret society of the Kom Kingdom, is the Ngon crest mask.
The realistic features of the Ngon represent a young woman of great beauty, with an exageration of the physical and personality traits, making each Ngon mask rather unique.
According to Paul Gebauer ("Art of Cameroon", Portland Art Association,1979) some groups oiled and painted their masks prior to public appearance. Such was the case for this old mask which retains layers of encrusted black patina and red painting on a crest like coifure.
I have been looking for "the right Ngon mask" for a long time and I love how this one combines juvenile beauty with archaism. A classical Ngon in a word.
The mask comes from the collection of Philip Goldman, UK, then Loed van Bussel, The Netherlands, and Olivier Salandini, France. Note the pierced hole on the lower lip, a feature usually found on the older Ngon masks.
I date the piece to the early 20th Century and it comes on a custom base.
H: 48 cm (19 inches)
Price : 2400 Euros