Igbo Masquerade Headdress, Nigeria
Wood, kaolin, iron
height 14in (35.6cm)
Private Collection, New York
The Igbo area between the cities of Onitsha and Akwa have a rich and diverse tradition of using masks and headdresses often influenced by neighboring groups such as the Idoma and Igala. This headdress was used by the men's secret Mmwo Society and it may represent a beautiful spirit.
Cf. Three rivers of Nigeria: art of the Lower Niger, Cross and Benue from the collection of William and Robert Arnett Collection. High Museum of Art, 1978 p. 27, cat. #58, and
Cf. Where the Spirits of the Dead Depend in Number Upon the Make-up Available! Among the Ibos 1920. The Illustrated London News, Vol. 157, No. 4251, pp. 545-584. image on p. 559