Igbo Mgbedike Headdress Mask
Igbo Tribe, Nigeria
Wood, pigments

21.5" x 9"
Inventory # 10336

Mgbedike masks such as this are distinguished by their large size and bold, exaggerated features, including an open mouth showing teeth. Their purpose is to oppose the maiden spirit mask, which represents a beautiful, marriageable girl. Gender relations and the general duality of male and female are dominant themes in Igbo ritual, and the mgbedike mask creates another such contrast (male power with female beauty). The power of the mask is reinforced by its ponderous, aggressive dancing style.