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Igbo Reliquary Head Nigeria Wood Headcrest African Art

Regular Price: $265.00

Special Price: $93.00

Product #: 110170
US Shipping: $31.98
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Title Igbo Reliquary Head Nigeria Wood Headcrest African Art
Type of Object Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Igbo
Materials Wood, pigment,
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions Height: 16.25 Inches
Width: 9 Inches
Depth: 7.5 Inches
Overall Condition Fair. 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 possible bug damage to back, side of mask. holes, cracks and gouges as seen. worn surface


From the collection of Howard Gelb, St. Paul, MN collector of African Art, who was also a businessman, lawyer, and philanthreopist. Mr. Gelb died in 2015, at the age of 96.

Additional Information:

The Igbo people  have produced multitude of masks. Each area has its own typology of masks. The present mask seems to come from the northern Igbo. Head crests like  indicate a Ejagham influence.  Among the Igbo such masquarade crests resemble the maiden masks (Agbogbo Mmuo), which embody the feminine ideals , the beauty and grace, and serve positive and protective roles.

This type of mask, with refined traits and complex, high-crested headdress, represents the spirit of a young woman (agbogho mmuo), and is called ikorodo. Traditionally, it is described as the portrayal of a young girl. It celebrates and emphasizes the qualities of wealth, creativity, fertility, and beauty: fair skin, thin lips, facial tattoos, straight nose. Moreover, the elaborate and sophisticated hair style refers symbolically to the age of the subject represented, to her social condition and the category of the spirit to which she belongs. The ikorodo were worn by groups of young men for the annual ceremony, in honour of the spirit of the earth ""Ane,"" which is celebrated at the end of the harvest. During the dances, they mimic female behavior with extreme care and skill, to represent and communicate, without speaking---events, sentiments and ideas from the spirits of the earth. The Igbo consider these masks as the incarnation of a dead person who continues to care for their descendants and relatives. Their appearance during agricultural feasts is an auspicious occasion for the entire community