‘Afikpo Abstract Bird Mask (Igbo - Nigeria, Africa)’, 19th century, Tambaran

This mask is worn on the the forehead, hence the raffia grass padding, and it would be danced during ceremonies

This highly abstract wooden face mask was made by the Afikpo, a small subgroup of the Igbo people in southeastern Nigeria. The flat board superstructure indicates it is a form of mba mask worn by young adult males in the annual okumkpa performance staged after the Dry Season Festival. The origins and specific meaning of the name of this mask is not clear, however it has been suggested that the name derives from the type of wood used to produce the mask, also called mba .

Museum for African Art, NY, 2002

Masterpieces of Nigerian Art, Ekpo Eyo, OFR, PH.D, Nigeria, 2008, p.238, cat.181
Facing the Mask, Museum for African Art, 2002, cat5, p.18

Ex-Private Collection, New York