REGION OF ORIGIN:
19" (48.3 cm) Tall
This genre of Igbo maiden masks, locally known as Agbogho Mmuo, with their often complex superstructures that depict crested hairstyles, which themselves are revered as a sign of wealth or royalty among the Igbos. The masks are often worn during agricultural festivals (in the dry season) and also sometimes during funerals of prominent members of the Igbo society. Masking performances are almost always exclusively male, (although the mask itself embodies the ideals of youthful feminine grace and beauty). The atmosphere is often festive in contrast to the otherwise malevolent atmosphere of other masked performances. During harvest ceremonies, maiden spirits are invoked to watch over the living and to propagate fertility, abundant harvests, and the overall affluence of the community. When used for funerals, maiden spirits are evoked to join other spirits to escort of the prominent deceased into the other world. The mask is usually danced while worn over a full body knitted costume.