To terrorize the evil-doers, the Ngil members were busy at night with much noise. To avoid being identified with an individual from the community, the dancer wore a helmet mask. Of course this practice soon became incompatible with the colonial administration and very few of these masks were preserved.
The Ngil mask shows a very elongated face whose features are refined. The prominent eyebrows join the bridge of the nose. The eyes are reduced to small slits and the mouth is minimized or absent. To accentuate their nocturnal power while evoking the livid world of spirits, they were whitened with kaolin. When examples were brought in Europe, they influenced modern art including Modigliani.
With an exceptional preservation of its white crust, the mask from the Vérité collection was sold for € 5.9M including premium by Enchères Rive Gauche on June 17, 2006. On the opposite, the mask sold for € 930K including premium by Christie's on December 13, 2011 had been used without a coating.
On October 30 in Paris, Christie's sells as lot 98 another Ngil mask which has preserved a very long and abundant hair, a small raffia beard and scarifications in the shape of a double arrow on both temples.
SOLD for € 2.4M including premium