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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Ibibio : Ibibio Wooden Polychrome Mask
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Ibibio Wooden Polychrome Mask - PF.4878
Origin: Southeastern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 27.5" (69.9cm) high x 23" (58.4cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Ibibio
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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The African mask, whether designed to cover the face or to be carried on a platform, serves as a physical "medium" between spirits and human, man and nature, reality and imagination. It is in fact the imagination of the artist which makes a mask such as this one so exciting. The brilliant yellow of the face is like a sudden burst of sunshine, brightening a gloomy day with laughter and light. A lively sense of humor is seen in the wide open mouth with teeth missing, and the debonair moustache. Bushy black hair is used for the eyebrows. On the head are two hyenas either side of an eagle. The realism of the animals is quite apparent in their basic form; yet given a fantasy element in their coloration and splashes of yellow, red, white and black dots. Stripes on the cheeks in the same bold colors appear as "war paint," or even representation of scarification. Whatever the actual intent of the artist may have been, the effect is a creation of mirth, joy and great fun. - (PF.4878)


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