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Gothamgallery Fine African Art - Nigeria Igbo Tribal Headdress Crest Mask For Sale
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Spectacular African Nigeria Igbo Headdress Crest Mask - Large Mask
Height: 69.5 Centimeters / Width: 35 Centimeters
Measurement Mask Only
Wood, Multicolored Pigment
Early - Mid 20th Century
Highly stylized large crest mask tribal scene with riding figure polychrome finished aged surface encrusted dark patina
US East Coast - Estimated $22.00
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Documentation of Authenticity / Any Available Provenance Will Be Included With This Piece
CONDITION Wood deterioration, chips and scrapes, age cracks, worn areas, tribally repaired areas, overall condition good. Thank you and please view my other items.
BACKGROUND Every Igbo town differs in terms of its range of festivals and types of masks, and oftentimes the spiritual and stylistic forms intermingle between regions,
making it difficult to trace this mask to one particular location. However, masking traditions throughout the various Igbo regions share underlying themes
and similar spirits, and so the purpose of this maiden mask can be at least somewhat clarified. Of the two most important mask types among the Igbo--
those idealizing the qualities of young women, and those representing the powers of men, the maiden mask embodies the former. When the mask is
worn, always by a man, the maiden spirit a dancer personifies represents the ideals of youthful feminine grace and beauty, albeit exaggerated both in
the masks and the performance of them.
Igbo models of beauty are based on both physical and moral dimensions. Physically a girl should be tall and slender, with a long neck, full and pointed
breasts, light complexion and small features, her hair elaborately dressed (preferably in the crested style) and her features brought out by facial tattoos.
These observable qualities mirror the spiritual traits desired by Igbo males - purity, as defined by the paleness of her complexion, grace in the form of
her facial features and the manner in which the spirit is danced, obedience, good character, and generosity. In addition, the crested hairstyle, which is
often considered a sign of wealth or royalty, is a symbol of the young Igbo maiden as the source of bride-wealth for her family upon her marriage. Such
physical and moral ideals are often not matched in reality, and are not necessarily meant to the maiden spirits are transcendent, a connection between
Igbo desires of beauty and the spiritual awesomeness of the incarnate dead.
Maiden mask artists favored red, orange, yellow, and black pigments to highlight their carvings, along with other colors, and these can be seen on the
entirety of the mask. As in a number of the more elaborate masks, which can have anywhere from one to three hair crests, this maiden has three crests
dramatically pairing positive and negative space.
Maiden masks are used mostly during agricultural festivals (usually the dry season) and the second funerals of prominent society members. On latter
occasions maiden spirits are invoked alongside other spirits as appropriate escorts of the highly respected dead into the spirit world. During agricultural
or other ceremonies, however, maiden spirits appear to aid in watching over the living and to promote abundant harvests, fertility, and general
prosperity. Maiden spirits are light-hearted in contrast to more menacing spirits of the Igbo world, which often generate a more serious atmosphere.
Maiden maskers perform almost theatrically, as if in a play, their purpose to entertain both human and spirit audiences.
The Maiden mask represents numerous attributes of the ideal of female beauty among the Igbo. Worn each year for 'The Fame of Maidens' ceremony, it is
intended to instruct youths in attitudes necessary for moral as well as physical beauty. Physically, height and litheness, good posture, a straight nose and
small mouth are all ideals. These traits are physical indices to the moral ideals of purity, obedience, good character and generosity
Painter Fred Uhlman words - Most of the artists I admired, Picasso, Modigliani, Deraini, to mention only a few, had collected African art and had been profoundly
influenced by it. Shortly afterwards I bought the Baule Fetish and the Baule bobbin which are still two of the finest pieces in my collection. It is easy to see
why I bought them and why from that moment I have never stopped collecting. The head of the bobbin or heddle - pulley which is after all only a functional
object for the purpose of weaving seemed to me then and today as beautiful as a Greek goddess. The fetish moved me as deeply as the bobbin by its silent
tragic dignity and its air of profound meditation.
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Gothamgallery Fine African Art - Nigeria Igbo Tribal Headdress Crest Mask: $696