Ogoni Mask, Antelope Mask, Ogoni, Nigeria
H: 38 cm (15″), W: 21 cm (8,3″).
The Ogoni tribe lives to the east of the Niger delta, in a fertile area rich in petroleum resources. Despite the efforts of Christian missionaries, they have retained a vital, regionally varied masquerading activity that is in part deeply rooted in their own tradition and in part adopted from neighboring ethnic groups such as the Ibibio, Ijo and Efik. Ogoni mask dances serve a great variety of functions, which, depending on the region, can extend from pure entertainment to participation in funeral services and harvest festivals, all the way to the implementation of judicial verdicts. The masks of wild animals are danced, acrobatically, on the occasion of agrarian rituals.
The Ogoni perform numerous plays and masquerades. A common character in them is the “he-goat”, representative of the rambunctious, mischievous, and antisocial aspects of human behavior. This character dances energetically and erratically, expressing the idea that “if you do bad things, people will talk about you.”
Age: Est. 50 – 70 years old.
Provenance: Acquired from an art gallery in Johannesburg in 1997.
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