About this artwork
The long, thin nose, small mouth, exaggerated hairstyle, and painted or raised patterns of an Igbo maiden spirit mask portray an ideal of youthful feminine beauty, a concept that is both physical and moral. Worn by men in colorful, elaborately appliquéd bodysuits, maiden spirit masks appear in groups at annual Fame of Maidens festivals, funerals of respected elders, and, more recently, cultural events that celebrate modern Igbo identity. Their presence entertains the community, honors the deceased, and reiterates traditional values. Typically, maiden spirit masks are painted white before a performance, as that color is associated with spiritual purity.
- Face Mask (Agbogho Mmuo)
- Wood and pigment
- Cora Abrahamson, Gladys N. Anderson, Harriett A. Fox, and Simeon B. Williams endowments