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Ijo Otojo zoomorphic crest mask (N° 18523)
This African mask, a figure in a pangolin, was sculpted to honor the spirits of nature during the masquerades owu. It was worn horizontally on the top of the skull. The open element at the top is removable. Grainy matte patina. br/> Ijo masks are creatures born of the imagination that are generally related to aquatic life. Indeed, the Ijo-Kalabari live mainly from fishing and their small villages located in swampy areas, their cosmogony naturally centered around this environment.
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They masks and other artistic productions are intended to honor the aquatic spirits, oro, whom they venerate and to whom sacrifices were intended. Fishermen had to be careful not to offend these spirits or they could destroy their wrath by means of the various dangerous animal species in the region, such as hippos, crocodiles or pythons. Their neighbors Igbo-Ekpeya use similar masks during masquerades egbukere .
(Ref.: Arts of Nigeria , A.lebas, ed.5Continents)
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