b1405. Fang

by Louis Perrois

5 continents editions. Visions of Africa Series. New. 156 pp., paperback, 63/4 x 11 in. 64 colour ills. and 15 b/w ills. ISBN 88-7439-295-8. Fang art is one of the most emblematic of all the arts of Black Africa and notably ever since they were “discovered” by Braque, Picasso and others before 1914. This immediate fame of a few effigies in dark wood of the byeri, and the large faces, whitened with kaolin, of the mysterious ngil paradoxically led to a certain ignorance about the manifold resources of the imaginary of the six “Fang” sub-groups geographically distributed between Yaoundé to the north and the Ogooué to the south. Envisaged in this book from a global point of view, all the “Fang” artefacts having a social, ritual or symbolic character—statuettes or separate heads related
to the cult of ancestors, dance masks of the various rites, insignia of power, headdresses and jewellery, arms, decorated musical instruments, everyday utensils—on all these different supports attest to an amazingly varied aesthetic creativity, in harmony with the profuse world of beliefs and myths. Louis Perrois is an ethnologist and art historian; he received his training at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris. Having spent almost twenty years in Gabon and then in Cameroon (1965–84), where he was able to conduct a great deal of fieldwork on the tradition and the ritual arts of the different populations of the region (Fang, Kota, Punu, and then Bamileke), he has published some fifteen books and catalogues on the arts of Atlantic Equatorial Africa.


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