African & Tribal Art :
Igbo, Urhobo : Igbo Wooden Mask with Cloth Covering
Igbo Wooden Mask with Cloth Covering - PF.4950
Collection: African Art
Medium: Wood and Cloth
Condition: Very Fine
Location: United States
| Photo Gallery
The Igbo (Ibo) of the Northern Niger River Delta
are one of the largest and most important tribal
groups in West Africa. They are culturally highly
complex, with a political system based upon a
loose form of chiefdom/kingship in some areas,
and a democratic panel of decision-makers in
others. Social life was usually governed by a
number of secret societies. Their main god is
Chukwu (literally “Great Spirit”), the creator of
the world, who is also linked to the sun and all
that grows and lives. Social conduct is governed
by Ogu-na-Ofo, spirits who defend the innocent
against unjust charges. If a guilty person appeals
to them for help, they will be cursed by
Amadioha (the god of thunder and lightning).
There are numerous other gods that deal with
issues as diverse as Ahia Njoku (yams) to Ikenga
(fortune and industry) and Agwu (medicine men).
Each person has a god named Chi, which is
essentially an embodiment of a person’s fate.
The Igbo are known for their artistic diversity,
due to the wide range of environments and local
histories to which their culture is exposed.
Standard sculpture includes Alusi figures – large,
public figures designed to embody the spirits of
significant gods – and also Ikenga figures, which
are kept on personal altars in private homes.