Maiden Spirit Mask--Painting of an African Mask
Igbo People, Nigeria
In the Igbo culture there are two basic types of masquerades, visible and invisible. The visible masquerades are meant for the public. They often are more entertaining. Masks used offer a visual appeal for their shapes and forms. In these visible masquerades, performances of harassment, music, dance, and parodies are acted out (Oyeneke 25).
The invisible masquerades take place at night. Sound is the main tool for them. The masquerader uses his voice to scream so it may be heard throughout the village. The masks used are usually fierce looking and their interpretation is only fully understood by the society’s members. These invisible masquerades call upon a silent village to strike fear in the hearts of those not initiated into their society.
One in a series of eleven paintings inspired by tribal African Masks from museum or private collections. This mask in the collection of the de Young Museum, San Francisco. The mask was in use during the 19th and early 20th centuries.