This is a Lovely and Wonderful White Igbo Maiden Mask from Nigeria. The white maiden masks, all danced by men, have super structures of several types, indicating spirit characters of different ages. 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. Of the two most important mask types among the Igbo are 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. This maiden mask would be a wonderful addition to your collection or home.
COMES ON STAND
Mid Twentieth Century
This mask shows age, has discoloration, but is in good condition
Mask on Stand
7 1/2" wide
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