Africa

Spectacular Igbo mask from Africa

This masterpiece was carved in the North West Region of Nigeria
in the late 19th or early 20th century out of one piece of wood. It is 23 inches tall.

Rediscovered Masterpieces of African Art, Dapper Museum, 1987, p. 155
● African Art in American collections,
W.M. Robbins & N.I. Nooter, 1989, no. 677
Facing the Mask, Franck Herreman,
Museum for African Art, New York, 2002, no. 30

You can read more about this famous mask in any of the above books. This mask is one of the most complex and carefully carved wood sculptures I have ever seen.

Also read about the Igbo people and their art. There are over 500 different tribes and three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. The Igbo tribe, which is made up of approximately 32 million people is one of them. The Igbo are made up of one of the most illustrious and industrious people in Nigeria.

The Igbo may be grouped into the following main cultural divisions: northern, southern, western, eastern or Cross River, and northeastern. Before European colonization, the Igbo were not united as a single people but lived in autonomous local communities. By the mid-20th century, however, a sense of ethnic identity was strongly developed, and the Igbo-dominated Eastern region of Nigeria tried to unilaterally secede from Nigeria in 1967 as the independent nation of Biafra. By the turn of the 21st century the Igbo numbered some 20 million.

Please search “Igbo” in the African category of our website. You can see what a wide variation of mask designs are used in that artistic culture. Of course, this one is definitely the stand out!

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