Lot: 206

98th Auction

Mask "okoroshioma"

Nigeria, Igbo

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
H: 13.2 inch sold

wood, pigments,

This mask shows particularly striking facial features: small, narrow eyes, a diamond-shaped mouth with a thickened upper and lower lip in the middle and a chin bulge. Stylistically comparable specimens in the AHDRC (no. 0095183, 0095184 and 0095187) are assigned to the Oba/Egbema region south of Lake Oguta.

At the peak of the rainy season, Igbo villages in the southwestern region traditionally hold a four-week festival in honor of the water spirits. During this time, the water spirits return to earth from their abode in the clouds to mingle with the people.

They are embodied by masked dancers generally called "okoroshi". Two different groups appear, friendly female spirits called "okoroshi oma" and their aggressive male counterparts "okoroshi ojo".

Cole, Herbert M. & Chike C. Aniakor, Igbo Arts, Los Angeles 1984, p. 186