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Igbo mask Nigeria Wood, kaolin, pigments H.: 39.5 cm. Mask with an elaborate hair structure that includes external additions to the headdress: five heavy braids form a structure of arcs of circles that house two small anthropomorphic female statuettes on either side of the skull. The top of the headdress is crowned by a semi-circle with openwork rays, similar to the other two female statuettes. The small long face with fine features, bleached, is decorated with two volutes encircling the half-closed eyes represented by two thin slits. Geometric scarifications decorate the forehead and temples. The mouth is stretched out, half-open and the ears are protruding.According to Cole and Aniakor (1984, pp. 120-129), this type of mask was worn by male dancers during a ceremony called Udo agbogho or "the fame of the virgin maidens" that took place every year in the northern part of Igbo country. The mask represents the young woman in her prime beauty. Object made specifically for colonial trade with obvious decorative interest.Consultant: Jean-Pierre LACOSTE

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