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The Ogoni people live along the eastern side of the Niger Delta and are well known for the rich variety and range of their masks. Some of these originate from their own carving traditions, others from neighboring peoples such as the Ijo or Ibibio. The range of Ogoni masks show great diversity in style and include both face masks and (zoomorphic) animal masks.
Ogoni mask dances serve a great variety of functions which, depending on the region, can extend from pure entertainment to participation in funeral services and harvest festivals, all the way to the implementation of judicial verdicts. Many masks are used on the occasion of planting rituals to ensure fertility. On all occasions, the performers wear cloaks of leaves, raffia fibre and other items so that their bodies are entirely hidden – thus keeping their true identity a secret. Ogoni dances and performances are often extremely acrobatic.
Masks such as this one are not necessarily worn on the face but are mounted on a wooden structure carried on the head, this adds to the dramatic effect of the mask as it hovers high above the ground.
Size: 280mm x 210mm x 140mm
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