Due to the diversity of the Igbo people, it is impossible to generalize about a pure Igbo art style, which has characteristically been representative of numerous geographical regions. It could be said, though, that most Igbo do carve and use masks, but the function of these masks vary from village to village.
Every Igbo town differs in terms of its range of festivals and types of masks, and oftentimes the spiritual and stylistic forms intermingle between regions, making it difficult to trace this mask to one particular location. However, masking traditions throughout the various Igbo regions share underlying themes and similar spirits. There are two most important mask types among the Igbo-- those idealizing the qualities of young women, and those representing the powers of men.. When the mask is worn, always by a man, the maiden spirit a dancer personifies represents the ideals of youthful feminine grace and beauty, albeit exaggerated both in the masks and the performance of them (Source: Igbo Arts: Community and Cosmos)
This mask was examined and deemed authentic by Mr. Leonard Kahan, author of various publications regarding Ekiti culture and masquerade tradition
- Dr. Peter Sharratt, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Sharratt was a linguist and lecturer in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh who published on Renaissance French sculpture.
For a comparative objects and further information on the subject, see:
- Kahan, L., One Half Holds the Sky, L. Kahan Gallery, 1991
- Dagan, E., When art shares nature's gift : the African calabash, Galerie Amrad Art Africain, 1988
- Aniakor, Chike C. and Herbert M. Cole. Igbo Arts: Community and Cosmos. Museum of Cultural History, University of California: Los Angeles, 1984