Ngoin helmet crest

workshop of the Babanki region
mid–20th century
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General Description

Ngoin represents a royal female spirit and serves as a generic symbol of womanhood. It dances with Kam, the "leader" mask, whose wearer leades other maskers in and out of the performance area and dictates the mask steps. These masks are part of an ensemble of twenty or more masks of different characters that are worn during funeral celebrations for high-ranking elders and in the contexts of social control and law enforcement. The mask fits snugly on top of the dancer's head and is worn with a costume of blue-and-white resist-dyed royal cloth. The dancer's face is concealed under a fitted hood.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.