Skip to Main Content »

You're currently on:

Search Site
Click on image above to zoom.

Ibibio Red Mask Female Figure with Snake Nigeria Africa

Regular Price: $250.00

Special Price: $49.00

Product #: 88789
US Shipping: $30.98
Add Items to Cart

Title Ibibio Red Mask Female Figure with Snake Nigeria Africa
Type of Object mask
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Ibibio
Materials wood, painting
Approximate Age second half 20th century
Dimensions 17 inches L. x 8 inches W. x 4 inches D.
Overall Condition 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 missing Snake head, chips in places

Additional Information:  A smiling  face mask painted in red and  surmounted by a charming female figure surrounded by a snake. This mask is from the  Ibibio people and was used  to celebrate  water spirits 
(Miami Wata-Mammy Water ). 

This mask from the Ibibio people reflects the mixed traditions that exist along the Lower Niger and Cross Rivers and the great Niger River delta as it flows into the Atlantic. A number of groups in this region share mask styles often drawing upon one another for imagery and perhaps even carvers who have some degree of mobility. The admixture of styles in the area must also include influences from the neighboring Igbo on the art and culture of the Ibibio.

The Ibibio are a culturally and linguistically related people with a men’ society known as Ekpe that has responsibility to ensure the ongoing welfare of the people. Masks also serve to represent age grades as men advance through various levels of the Ekpe secret society. Masks with beautiful  faces and  serpents or other animal attributes are associated with water spirits.The scene of a snake eaten by a bird symbolically expresses powerful forces related to water spirits (Mami Wata or mother water) and subtle principles among the Ibibio of Nigeria.

This mask represents Mami Wata  or the water spirit recognized by the use of bright colors, the allegorical scene with in the center a female figure charming  the serpent . Such masks mask would dance to honor the sacred nature of water, the spirit of water, which is of great importance for peoples living between the Niger Delta River and the Cross River regions of Nigeria including the Ibibio.

Recommended Reading:

Wittmer, M. & W. Arnett.  Three Rivers of Nigeria.  1978

Anderson. M. and P. Peek, Ways of the Rivers, Art and Environment of the Niger Delta. 2002


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