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Mumuye Yoke Sukwava Shoulder Mask Miniature African Art

Product #: 111052
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Title Mumuye Yoke Sukwava Shoulder Mask Miniature African Art
Type of Object Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Mumuye
Materials Wood, clay beads?
Approximate Age 20th Century 
Dimensions Height: 14.5 Inches
Width: 3.25 Inches
Depth: 5 Inches
Overall Condition Fair to poor. 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 Repaired neck ring and bottom of the piece where a custom base was attached

Additional Information: This stylized  shoulder or head mask comes from a relatively small group known as the Mumuye in the north of Nigeria. Mumuye masks are some of the most highly stylized found in West Africa with a ‘clothes-pin’ shaped body with an opening in the front to allow the dancer to see. The Mumuye live along the eastern bank of the Benue River in Northern Nigeria in an area of mixed art and influences.

The Mumuye for a number of wide ranging purposes uses highly abstracted figures called Lagalagana or masks called Sukwava. In the past they were used to manipulate the forces of nature and control human behavior and lately appear during ceremonies to bring rain. This abstracted body is surmounted by an elongated neck ending in a relatively small crested head with large ears. Masks such as this represent females with a high crested hairstyle wearing large wooden plugs placed into the lobes of the ears. This is a well-carved example of Mumuye mask carving that would stand well in a collection.

Recommended Reading: Sieber, Roy. Sculpture of Northern Nigeria, 1961.