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Artwork Details

20th century
wood, human hair and pigment
12 1/4 in x 9 13/16 in x 4 5/16 in (31.2 cm x 25 cm x 11 cm)
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis

On Display

Not currently on display


Subject Matter:

The small features and fine hairstyle of this mask suggest that it may be a representation of an ideal Igbo woman. Masquerades celebrating the beauty of young women have been known to use light colored 'maiden spirit' masks with elaborate hairstyles called agbogho mmuo, which were danced by young men in the community. Although this mask may not have the intricate hairstyles often seen on agbogho mmuo masks, it is likely a female mask. However, the context in which it would have been used is unfortunately unknown.  

References Cited: 
Cole, Herbert M. 2013. Visions of Africa: Igbo. Milan: 5 Continents Editions
Cole, Herbert M. and Chike C. Aniakor. 1984. Igbo Arts: Community and Cosmos. Los Angeles: UCLA Museum of Cultural History. 

Physical Description:

Wooden mask in the form of a human face. The mouth is open and the chin has traces of hair attached. The eyes are set close together with a raised brow ridge and diagonal lines on each cheek. Next to each eye is a set of raised marks. The ears are small and rectangular. The hair is in a tri-lobal style, in some places covered with human hair. 

Usage Rights:

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