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Igbo Mask White Face Male on Top Nigeria Cross River Africa

Product #: 130066
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Title Igbo Horned Mask White Face Nigeria Cross River African
Type of Object Face Mask
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Igbo
Materials Wood, pigment, cotton
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 15 Inches
Width: 9 Inches
Depth: 6 Inches
Overall Condition Fair to good.. 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 crack and repair at back top of head

Additional Information:  A white face with a open mouth showing prominent teeth, this mask comes from the Igbo people. It most likely belongs to th category of Okoroshia , a southern version of Mmwo masks from the northern Igbo.  The detail of this piece is remarkable and the figure on top is very well carved. A lot of the original patina has worn off, but that adds even more depth to this beautiful piece. This mask would stand out in an art collection.

The Igbo people have numerous men’s dancing societies for which masks with a wide range of symbolism are worn. Among the Igbo a masquerader is known as mmanwu and masked dancers will have other names within local Igbo groups.  Masks and masquerades among the Igbo can at one time serve multiple and often simultaneous purposes. Some masks appear to initiate young boys into adult status and adult males into higher levels and status in the men’s society.  Beautifully carved masks will dance to honor the dead through masks that represent the beauty of young girls as spirit maidens. Because of its style and form this mask is located among the Northern Igbo and Idoma border where young men dance it to entertain and gain some financial reward..

Recommended reading:   

Fagg, W.  Nigerian Images.  1963. 

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

Cole, H.M. and C. C. Aniakor; Igbo Arts, Community and    Cosmos.  1984.

Jones, G.I.,  he Art of Eastern Nigeria, 1984.

Anderson, M.G. and P. M. Peek, Ways of the Rivers: Arts and Environment of the Niger Delta, 2002.