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Igiri Mask

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  • Title Igiri Mask
  • Category Sculpture
  • Medium Soft wood and white kaolin
  • Dimensions 15.25"h x 10"w x 6"d
  • Description Carved from soft wood, the face is painted white with kaolin.
  • Notes The Igiri Mask comes from the Igbo people, where the Odo society, the group in charge of the Odo festival, an event in which the dead are honored by helping them return to their families in masked form, oversees the initiation of boys into masking society. The mask is slightly irregular due to its lack of a depicted mouth. The mask's white color is derived from white kaolin clay painted onto the soft wood. Raffia is attached to the top of the mask. Found in Southeastern Igboland, primarily in the towns Afikpo, Ada, Edda and Amaseri, igri (also called okonkpo or egede) masks are among the rarest of masks worn by older male members of the Mmwo (or Mma) secret society*. Igiri masks are danced annually by male singers and musicians during Okumkpa ceremonies to celebrate the end of the dry season and to satirize the lives of villagers. They are also used during Njenji ceremonies which usher in the start of the annual festival season in Igboland. The ceremony is an opportunity for young male initiates to demonstrate their ability to convince other villages to partake in festivities; it's a sign of their maturity and negotiation skills. *Bess Reed, Benjamin Hufbauer, “Ancestors and Commemoration in Igbo Odo Masquerades.” (RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, no. 47, 2005), 135-52.
  • Artist Igbo People Nigerian
  • Credit Clyde and Annie Matters Collection
  • Location Library Art Storage H8
  • Accession Number 1994.0016
  • Status Checked Out
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