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Idoma or Ogoni Mask Nigeria Africa Collection African Art

Product #: 81336
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Title Idoma or Ogoni Mask Nigeria Africa Messick Collection
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Idoma or Ogoni ?
Materials Wood., pigment
Approximate Age second half 20th century
Dimensions 13 inches H. x 9.25 inches W.
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair General wear, eye chipped, chips in the back

Provenance : From a North Carolina  old Collection 

Stephen Messick is a North Carolina collector who amassed an extraordinary collection of African art, particularly Ogoni pieces. We are very proud to have bought his collection.

Additional Information: An interesting  mask with spoys in white. This particular mask could come from the Idoma or Ogoni peoples. The mask shows much handling and some age  . 

In the Niger Delta River region of Nigeria a number of groups including the Idoma, Igbo, Ibibio, Ijo and Ogoni share masking styles and uses. The Ogoni people are a small group who have become isolated along the Atlantic coast where through time they developed their own culture and style of carving while sharing some mask forms with their neighbors. Their mask, rarely documented, are said to appear during initiations, funerals and during recent years at Christmas celebrations.

Among the Idoma masks such as this are called “Okua” and are danced to pay respect for elders at funerals. The mask draws its authority and power from the bush spirit known as “Anjenu” who lives in the river and who is also honored by the dancing of the white “Okua” funerary masks. If truly Ogoni, this mask might have been worn to celebrate the harvest , during the initiation ceremonies and at the funerals.  

 Recommended Reading:

Sieber, Roy.  Sculpture of Northern Nigeria, 1961.

Sieber, R. and Tony Vevers.  Interaction:  the art styles of the Benue River and East Nigeria.  1974.

Cole, H.M. and C. C. Aniakor. Igbo Arts. Community and Cosmos, Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, 1984

Marcelene K. Wittmer and William Arnet. Three Rivers of Nigeria, The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978

I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.