Lot: 279

94th Tribal Art Auction

Anthropomorphic mask

Nigeria, Urhobo / Isoko

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
David Norden, Antwerp, Belgium
Fily Keita, Los Angeles, USA
H: 17.9 inch 3000 EUR
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, colour pigments, nails, collection number "F. / 834", rest. A mask possibly by the same artist shown in Foss (2004), p. 105, cat. 62. Masks of the Urhobo were worn in ceremonies in honor of water spirits "edjorame". The group's most important masquerade festivals are devoted to "Ohworhu", spirit of the deep waters and forests, who also serves to watch over marital fidelity. This is the context in which the present mask should be seen. It likely represents a young woman of marriagable age "opha". The horn-like hairstyle is an indication of her status as a future bride.

Foss, Perkins (ed.), Where Gods and Mortals meet, New York 2004, p. 105, Cat. 62 and p. 115 ff.