An Ibo mask from the South-West of Nigeria; the facial features such as the nostrils of a thin nose, the open mouth and the ears are outlined in black, the eyebrows run in arches with a black dotted line and stand out against the surface covered with white pigments, as do decorative scars on the temples, next to the mouth and on the cheeks, which are also accentuated in black. On the forehead above the root of the nose, three cowrie shells lead vertically to the hairline. The coiffure is symmetrically constructed, divided into side reliefs with inlaid combs and star-shaped motifs as well as the upturned comb, complemented by groove-shaped ornaments in front towards the forehead and at the back of the head; coiffure part brownish-red patina and white pigment on the face part.
“This mask represents numerous attributes of the ideal of feminine beauty amongst the Ibo. Each year “maiden” masks were carved for “The Fame of Maidens” annual festival in the north central region of Iboland. These adolescent female masks, or agbogho mmanwu, are danced by men in an exaggerated manner. The festival serves to underline the idealsof feminine beauty and morality as “Maidens are the pride of there fathers, the source of bride-wealth upon their forthcoming marriages.The ideal beauty of a girl has both physical and moral dimensions. Physically she “should” be tall and lithe, with an upright posture and stately carriage..Ideally she will have fine facial features – a thin straight nose and a small mouth – an her hair will be elaborately and delicately dressed in the preferred crested style…These ideals link too with the beauty of nature and valued medicines..Her moral qualities will include purity, obedience, good character, and generosity” (Cole and Aniakor 1982:121).
Lit.: Basden. 1966; Borgatti 1979; Boston 1977; Cole 1982; Ottenberg, 1972; Weston 1984;
1.200 – 1.400,- Euro
Height: 38 cm
Weight: 2,7 kg