West Africa, Nigeria, Igbo people, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. A wooden mask in the Okoroshi Oma style, hand-carved and narrow to be worn atop the head rather than over the face, with the rest of the body covered beneath it to hide the identity of the wearer. The mask's face is long and painted white with some brown pigment added around the mouth, forehead, and atop the head and crest. Semi-circular ears, rounded eyes, an enormous nose, and an ovoid mouth with several protruding teeth detail the face, with a linear bar tracing the forehead up to a curved crest with incised linear motifs. Okoroshi Oma masks are white-faced masks meant to represent women water spirits; they are worn during the six month rainy season and represent the dualities associated with the feminine; there are complementary male spirit masks, which have black faces. Size: 11.5" H (29.2 cm).
Provenance: ex-Nick Poolos collection, Adeon Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA acquired before 1975
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