Igbo, "Elephant" mask.

Igbo, "Elephant" mask.

"Elephant" helmet mask, wood, pigments
presumed early XXth
length 67 cm
Tribal Art
very good
Inventory number

Ogbodo enyi mask, Igbo, northeastern Nigeria.

This very rare mask, has in its front part two statuettes, male and female. In foot, being inscribed in each lobe of a heart in relief, the only known specimen with two characters. These two figures with marked sexes, elbows bent against the body, striated hairstyle for the female figure. Both mouths open, showing the teeth, the well detached bodies projecting backwards, boldly articulated volumes.
The other part, strongly schematized, presents an elephant's head, made up of geometrical elements with strong relief, conical eyes rising from the plateau where the trunk is also located. Large mouth, completed on each side by the tusks. On the sides two spirals and beveled striations in high relief, perhaps corresponding to scarifications (spirals found in some Igbo masks).

Beautiful brown patina in places, showing a long use of the mask, remains of eggshell on the upper part, following sacrificial libations honoring the mask. Cubism and realism are found and complement each other in the aesthetics.


Provenance :

  • Collection Herman S.Trullu (Nîmes)


To see: for a very close mask but with only one character

  • Sale Loudmer June 1989 Paris, lot N° 80.
  • In Remnants of ritual 2003 page 22 N° 51.
  • In Art d'Afrique Noire by Marie Louise Bastin 1984 page 206 (probably by the same hand).
  • Gallery Helene Kamer " masks elephant IGBO exhibition 1980, page 19.



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