Igala Mask


Agbanabo Mask

Carved wood
Early 20th century
Height: 9 ¾ in. (25 cm)

Acquired from Galerie Monbrison, Paris in 1999
Ex private collection, Paris

Yale University Archive GVR : 0129298-01

Price: on request

Western Africa
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According to John Boston in Central Nigeria Unmasked (Berns, Fardon, Kasfi, 2011): "The Igala-speaking peoples live to the southeast of the confluence of the Niger and Benue riverse, and they share a common boundary with the Igbo to the south and the Idoma to the east. Their strategic position has brought them into contact with many other peoples, and they have specific traditions of conflict in the past with Benin and with the Jukun kingdom. Linguistically and culturally, however, they have more in common with the Yoruba, though this underlying similarity does not extend to sharing the Yoruba preference for urban living."
Masquerades are central to Igala ritual, and the masks and costumes employed are the most important Igala art forms. The present mask is for the Igala Agbanabo royal masquerade.