SALE END DATE AND TIME
July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
Lots begin to close at 4PM EST (9PM GMT) and continue to close at 1 lot per minute. Go to the live bidding room, using the link below to see the exact times that lots close.
To request a bid over the phone, please navigate to the item and click the link that says "Register for phone biding" in the *Auction Info* section. Alternatively, email us :
USA: +1 888-599-5099
UK: +44 800-086-8995
Other: +1 617-706-3999.
TO LEAVE BIDS
To leave bids, please navigate to the item for which you would like to leave a bid, and click the button that says "Leave Bid".
NOTE: for security purposes you will be asked again for your password when you bid.
The mask has a number of functions, but was primarily used to idealize the powerful qualities of young women, of feminine grace and youthful beauty. As men dance the mask, these qualities are often exaggerated in the mask performance, almost to comic proportion.
The Igbo people of Nigeria have extraordinary, complex, and multi-layered masking traditions that vary in theme, goal, objective, and function depending on region, village, and historical masquerade tradition. Despite this level of complexity and breadth, this particular style of maiden mask, known as Agbogho Mmwo, is critically important to the tribe and has a meaning and function which is well-known and is danced throughout the wider Igbo geographical territory.
As is detailed in an important text on the Igbo, “Igbo Arts: Community and Cosmos” by Aniakor and Cole, this mask “…embodies the facial features of the Igbo model of beauty. The girl should have an elaborate, sophisticated coiffure, which enhances her beauty, often with the inclusion of combs (as in this example), mirrors, flowers, bulbs (also in this example) and other accouterments in the crested hair. Her face is often lighter in color (note the yellow used on this example) and hair elaborately dressed (preferably in the crested style, as in this example) and her features brought out by facial tattoos or scarification (also present in this fine example).
As Cole and Aniakor write, “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. 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.”
Aniakor, Chike C. and Herbert M. Cole. Igbo Arts: Community and Cosmos. Museum of Cultural History, University of California: Los Angeles, 1984
Age and Provenance:
Upon a rudimentary inspection, the mask shows significant signs of age. It most likely dates to the early 20th century. There is natural aging that has occurred in the areas of applied and reapplied paint, with chipping and scratching from age and handling. The wear on the surface of the paint is obvious. This type of heavy, multiple applications of paint are characteristic of earlier Igbo masks rather than late 20th century examples in which light white kaolin pigment with a small amount of paint, conservatively applied, was employed.
|Lot ID: 78|
|Low Estimate: $4,000|
|High Estimate: $8,000|
|Next Bid: $2,000|
|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: layered lacquered paint, wood, textile, bamboo, fiber/hair, pigment, thatch|
|Dimensions: 20" (50.8 cm) height x 7" (17.78 cm) width|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Nigeria|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Mask|
|Igbo Arts: Community and Cosmos" by Herbert M. Cole and Chike G. Aniakor; Igbo: Visions of Africa Series, H. Cole; Visona, A History of Art in Africa; Bacquart, The Tribal Arts of Africa; PHOTO SOURCE: Igbo Maiden Mask Source, Aniakor, Chike C. and Herbert M. Cole. Igbo Arts- Community and Cosmos. Museum of Cultural History, University of California- Los Angeles, 1984|
|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|
Please login before inquiring about this item, or adding it to your Favorites list. If you do not have a client login, please register.