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Ogoni Portrtait Mask with Crown Nigeria African Art

Regular Price: $195.00

Special Price: $162.00

Product #: 110264
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Title Ogoni Portrtait Mask with Crown Nigeria African Art
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Ogoni
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century/second half
Dimensions Height: 8.5 Inches
Width: 6.5 Inches
Overall Condition Fair
Damage/Repair Cracks, chips and general wear. surface and pigments are very worn

Additional Information: A small portrait mask with black and red pigments applied and wearing away in layers.  The defining feature of this mask is the three-peaked crown, which suggests the hand of an Ogoni carver. 
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: Anderson, Martha G and Peek, Philip M., Ways of the Rivers. Arts and Environment of the Niger River Delta , UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles. 2002; William Fagg,  Nigerian Images. 1963;  Horton, R. Kalabari Sculpture. 1965;
Wittmer, M. & W. Arnett. Three Rivers of Nigeria. 1978