Shoulder Mask


ROS 1102-8

Mumuye, Yoke Shoulder Mask, Nigeria

The Mumuye have shoulder or yoke masks, known as Sukwava, which display an elongated neck set under a diminutive head with large ears. Traditionally they were used during pre-war ceremonies, but nowadays they are worn during rain-making and healing practices.

The Mumuye in Nigeria are probably a mixture of five originally separate peoples –  the Mumuye, the Chamba, the Jukun, the Wurkun and the Montol – who retreated under pressure to the rocky hills south of the Benue River in Nigeria.

The Mumuye occasionally used their figures for divination and healing, as did the north-western neighbours, the Montol and Goemai. Other figures, distinguishable in form and style, reinforced the status of important elders, served as house guardians and/or were used to greet rainmakers’ clients.

Dimensions:  H: 60 (65 cm. incl. stand) cm., W: 10 cm., D: 12 cm.

Age: Est. beg. – mid. 20th Century

Provenance: Collected in situ by Danish Ambassador who lived Africa in the 1950s.

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