This shoulder mask was carved in the style of the Mumuye people of Nigeria. The piece comes attached to a custom base for easy display. It measures 15 inches tall including base and weighs 2 pounds. There is a piece gouged out of the right side along with cracking, scuffing and wear and tear – please inspect photos.
|Type of Object||
|Country of Origin||
Wood, pigment and vegetable fiber
14.5" mask | 15" including base
4.25" mask | 5" base
Some cracking, scuffing and general wear and tear throughout.
About the Igbo People
The Igbo have an oral history that tells of their origins having come from a ‘sky being’ whom they call Eri. Eri was sent by Chikwu (God) down to Earth. When Eri first landed, he sat on an ant-hill looking at a marshy landscape. He began to complain about the conditions, so Chikwu sent a blacksmith who used bellows and charcoal to dry the land. Eri and his people lived plentiful until his death, in which all food ceased. One of Eri’s sons, Nri, objected to the lack of food, in which Chikwu’s reply was for him to sacrifice his first son and daughter and bury them in separate graves. 12 days after Nri complied, yams grew from his son’s grave and coco yam from his daughter’s. Later, Nri decided to kill a male and female slave, burying them the same way he did his children. Again, after 12 days, oil palm grew from the male slave’s grave while a fruit tree grew from that of the female slave. Since the creation of this Igbo oral tradition, all kings trace their origin back to the founding ancestor Eri and each king is a ritual reproduction of him.
Read more about the Igbo here.
About the Mumuye People
“Living on the left bank of the Benue River, the 400,000 Mumuye people intensively farm an area of plains. Socially, they are divided into small family groups called Dola, which are headed by a council of elders with an elected leader. The Vabong secret society, of which there are seven grades, regulates Mumuye religious life. Entry into the society is achieved through initiation ceremonies, which include flagellation and an explanation of the meaning of masks and other magical objects.”
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.