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20th C. Nigerian Urhobo Bride Mask with Elaborate Hair

Africa, Nigeria, probably Urhobo peoples, ca. early 20th century CE. This is a wooden mask with a dark-painted surface and darker painted details outlining the eyes, lips, and eyebrows. There is what looks like a representation of a tattoo or scarification on painted onto the forehead. Aside from the empty almond-shaped eyes, the most striking feature is the hair, which is pulled severely upwards in two spikes. The Urhobo peoples of southern Nigeria use masks in masquerades at festivals to honor water spirits who travel up the Niger River delta; the hairstyle mimics those worn by Urhobo brides. Size: 5.75" W x 11.75" H (14.6 cm x 29.8 cm)

Condition: Expected wear, with some bug damage, particularly visible on the interior of the mask. The ears and tips of the hair have some losses. Shape of the face is clear.

Provenance: Ex-private Poolos collection / Adeon Gallery, Chicago, IL

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