Stuning Igala Aba helmet mask from Nigiria.
The Igala people live near the end of the Niger river. Every year they participate in important cermonies celebrating the power of their king. During these festivities, nine types of royal helmet mask, called Agba, appear. They display typical facial scarifications and slaned eyes. Non-royal helmet masks are covered with linear scarifications and are used during festivals related to the Egu cult, which celebrate the spirit of the dead, and during the Yam festival when Igala ancestors are evoked (The Tribal Arts of Africa, Jean-Baptiste Bacquart, P 88).
This rare wooden Igala mask is in good condition with traces of wear and tear. On top of the mask there is a hole in the wood due to aging.