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Mambila Head Crest Mask Chief Suaga Due African Art

Regular Price: $590.00

Special Price: $188.00

Product #: 119418
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Title Mambila Head Crest Mask Chief Suaga Due African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Cameroon
People Mambila
Materials Wood, pigment, fibers
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 16 Inches
Width: 11.5 Inches
Depth: 9 Inches
Overall Condition Fair
Damage/Repair Chipped/damaged backside, well worn patina, cracks, chips and wear

Additional Information: A stylized and expressionistic mask that comes from the Mambila people of northern Nigeria. This is a dramatic example which has a large smiling mouth showing its carved teeth, an absent nose and two tubular eyes. The head presents a small stylized animal. Traces of red and/or white pigment highlight features such as the eyes, ears, and teeth. The surface is covered with encrusted patina. It shows evidence that the mask was repainted several times. 

Mambila people were transferred as a group from the grasslands of northern Cameroon to northern Nigeria in 1961. Living in the Grasslands region of Cameroon and Nigeria, the Mambila hold dances at the end of the planting and harvesting seasons, in June-July and December-January. Male dancers wearing brightly-painted, carved wooden masks or a grass-woven costume dance in a strictly ranked order of appearance that includes a human-headed mask followed by a mask called Suah Bur and a similar, but smaller mask called Suah Due. The last mask to appear is a male dancer wearing a woven grass costume either dyed a dark color or patterned with red. The difficulty of attributing a firm age to Mambila art, whether of figures or masks, is that they were repainted with red, black and white paint before each appearance and therefore a worn surface as a factor of age is difficult to determine.

Recommended Reading: Young, J. Y. "African Art in the Mambila collection of Gilbert Schneider," 1967.