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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

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Accession Number



Object Creation Date
20th century

Medium & Support
wood with pigment

7 3/8 in x 5 5/16 in x 2 1/4 in (18.8 cm x 13.5 cm x 5.8 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Daniel and Sandra Mato

Subject matter
Although the exact origin of this mask is unknown, it could possibly have been made by Igbo peoples, or perhaps Idoma peoples from what is today central and southeastern Nigeria. Maiden spirit masks called aghobo mmuo, used by Igbo peoples to celebrate the beauty of young women, are similar in appearance with white faces and detailed with black pigment. However, this mask lacks the large crests and elaborate hairstyles usually found on maiden spirit masks. Small white masks are also seen in the masquerades of the Owu waterspirit cult, called okoroshi oma. This mask is also similar to those used by Idoma peoples, such as those in the Ichahoho masquerade. Other white faced masks, called ikpobi, act as the wife in husband/wife pairs during second burial performances. 

References Cited: 
Berns, Marla C., Richard Fardon, and Sidney Littlefield Kasfir, eds. 2011. Central Nigeria Unamasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley. UCLA: Fowler Museum for Cultural History. 
Cole, Herbert M. 2013. Visions of Africa: Igbo. Milan: 5 Continents Editions. 

Physical Description
Oval shaped wooden mask with white pigment on the face and black pigment on the hair, which has a scalloped pattern near the forehead. There is also black pigment outlining the eyes, mouth, nose, as well as facial markings next to and below the eyes. Along the edge of the mask are small holes, perhaps to attach a now missing part of the costume. 

Primary Object Classification
Wood and Woodcarving

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
performances (creative events)
spirits (beings)

& Author Notes

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