|Q: I purchased this mask from a woman whose antique store recently went out of business. She had about 10 different masks to choose from and said she had a buyer who collected them from Africa for her. I asked if she knew any details on the mask’s origin, but she didn’t. Though the price is listed as $75, she only asked for $40. Where might this mask have originated from? Looking forward to hearing from you. Amy, 1197
A: You got an important addition to your low-cost African mask collection. This is called a Ngil and could have been used to embody spirits of the deceased by the Fang people who live mostly in Gabon, West Africa. It is an average example of a traditional African mask made to look old and used for the trade. The price you paid was good.
If this reproduction was especially beautiful, more carefully carved, and expertly aged it would have cost much more. If it was also authentic (used in culture) and had the proper provenance, neither you or the remaining 99 percent of the US population could afford it! C