MaskArtist(s)IgboArtist NationalityIgbo (Southern Nigerian style, culture)Object Creation Date1900-1978Medium & Supportpigment, metal and monkey fur Dimensions
26 in x 17 5/16 in x 14 9/16 in (66 cm x 44 cm x 37 cm)Credit LineGift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert T. WestonSubject matter
This fierce-looking mask has a fitting name, called mgbedike
by Igbo peoples, meaning 'the time of power' or the 'time of the brave'. Used most often in the north-central region of Igbo peoples, these masks are usually three to five times the size of a human head, topped by a superstructure of horns, spikes, or knives. Many also have pointed teeth. Their dark color and motifs demonstrate the chaos and power of the wilderness, found in the strength of wild animals, the ambiguous power of spirits and herbal medicines, and in the authority of elders, ancestors, sorcerers, and doctors. As these masks were associated with danger and fear, powerful middle-aged men were often the ones to wear them.
Cole, Herbert M. 2013. Visions of Africa: Igbo.
Milan: 5 Continents Editions. Physical Description
Wooden mask with a superstructure of curling horns with blue pigment. The face of the mask is white and the mouth is open with pointed teeth. Attached below the mouth is a panel of fur, possibly monkey fur. The forehead is dark in color while there is blue pigment above each eye. On each side of the head are possible animal figures or horns, while atop the forehead sits another set of horns or hairstyle that points downward, carved with a spiral design. Primary Object Classification Sculpture Primary Object TypemaskCollection AreaAfricanRights
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men (male humans)