Night Society Mask

Bangwa peoples, Cameroon

Wood with clay coating

Gift of Bermuda Arts Council

14.5 x 17 x 11 in

In the small kingdoms that constitute the Bangwa peoples, a powerful association called the “Night Society” is charged with the maintenance and enforcement of social order. Its primary instruments are its powerful masks, which possess deliberately distorted features to convey their awe-inspiring, supernatural dimension. The Night Society carries out its tasks, which include the pursuit of criminals and the punishment of transgressors, in the obscurity of night and in secret anonymity. The masks also appeared publicly in commemorative death celebrations for the king, his titleholders and society members.

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