RARE BUT TYPICAL IGALA HELMET MASK NIGERIA
VINTAGE WOODEN IGALA HELMET(NIGERIA)
MEDIUM Wood, pigment
DIMENSIONS 40cm H, 86cm W, 71cm D
The Igala people live in southeastern Nigeria, where the Niger and Benue rivers
meet. They are known for their helmet masks of lightweight, brown wood, richly decorated with lines in relief. These crest mask represent ‘Egu’
, the spirit of the dead, and are used during harvest festivals. The present helmet mask displays the typical features of ‘Egu masks’: originally coloured black and brown, with dense, clear lines in relief, narrow slit eyes under lowered eyelids, with round ears and
a protruding, oval mouth with sketched rows of teeth. Good, old usage patina on the outside as well as on the inside. An old fracture on the back at the lower edge. Rare! First half of the 20th century.