Lot: 155

92nd Tribal Art Auction

Water spirit mask

Nigeria, Niger Delta, Ijaw

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Wolfgang Nerlich, Munich, Germany H: 28.7 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, white and red paint, rattan, base This water spirit headdress was used in the masquerades of the "ekine" men's society. It is claimed that these performances imitate dances of the water spirits themselves, and the masks sometimes exit or enter from the water. All water spirit masks combine human features with the characteristics of aquatic animals. Usually these are fins, fishtails or crocodile snouts. In this case, however, the mask is originally carved with the bow and stern of a canoe.

Schädler, Karl-Ferdinand, Lexikon Afrikanische Kunst und Kultur, München, Berlin 1994, p. 195