Vintage and Antique Tribal Art and Artifacts from The Americas.

An Igbo goat mask

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Pre 1950: Item # 1015708

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michael cichon tribal arts
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P.O. Box 5919
Bradenton, FL 34281

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This zoomorphic form was used as an entertainment mask during dry season festivals. It is part of the 'locust spirit' gatherings, named because the event brings in 'swarms' of youths to the village. Any male initiate, young or old, can commission such a mask and the fierce competition between these age-grades creates the diversity often seen during the masquerades. Most of the masks are not visually threatening, but are named with rather strong and forceful titles; in the case of this goat mask, it might be called "has horns" or "words of stubborn youth" (Cole and Aniakor, Igbo Arts, 1984). A fine and petite example showing much age and use, especially on the interior and along the attachment holes. Ample remains of red, white, and black organic pigments. The eyes have been inset with bits of mirror to further animate the image. Some small nails are still in-place under the exaggerated mouth. From the northcentral area of Igbo-land, Nigeria, West Africa. Early 20th century. 16.50"L x 4"H. Provenance: Richard Meyer, NYC, 1980's. The mask is custom mounted.