SALE END DATE AND TIME
July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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"The zoomorphic masks of the Ijo include many types that depict water animals such as crabs, hippopotami, and crocodiles. The most common motif, however, is fish, especially fish of prey such as sharks, swordfish, and stingrays, which are depicted with striking realism. This is not surprising, seeing as the Ijo live by fishing in the Niger Delta and face the threat of these dangerous fish every day. These aquatic masks of the Ijo are considered to be incarnations of water spirits (*bou oru*) who ensure the welfare of the community. To placate these spirits and win their favor during the dry period, celebrations lasting several days are held, with masquerade performances accompanied by offerings and invocations. In the group of fish masks, the hammerhead (known as *uguberi*) is a common character who plays the role of the social outcast. The athletic antics of its wearer accompany joyous festivities. These masks also serve an important role even when not being worn: they oversee and arbitrate disputes in Ijo villages. In addition to the purposes mentioned, masks of this type are thought capable of predicting death, minimizing epidemics, and furthering community welfare.
This example, with very strong provenance, is aesthetically exceptional and a very high quality illustration which remains in excellent condition. The extended snout is finely balance with the jutting “eyes”, giving the mask even a humanistic quality combined with a dynamic, emotive presence.
|Lot ID: 80|
|Low Estimate: $2,500|
|High Estimate: $5,500|
|Next Bid: $1,250|
|Sale ID: 6|
|Sale Date: July 28, 2016|
|Sale Location: Virtual Auction|
|Sale Sponsor: African Artworks from Berz Gallery of African Art|
|Sale Terms: View here|
|Live Bidding Link: SALE CLOSED|
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood, nails, pigment, polychrome paint, encrustation|
|Dimensions: 31" (78.74 cm) height x 8" (20.32 cm) width x 4.5" (11.43 cm) depth|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Nigeria|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Mask|
|Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley, Marla Berns, Richard Fardon, Sidney L. Kasfir, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Kerchache, "Art of Africa," 1993.|
|Provenance: Ex. James Willis, US (original certificate of authenticity and ownership included with purchase)|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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