220661 - Tribal used mask from the Chamba - Nigeria.


African mask from the Chamba, Nigeria.

Hand carved from a single piece of wood. 

Height: 37 cm.

This head crest represents a rarely documented tradition from this Northern Nigeria region where the Niger and Benue Rivers meet. 

Mangam head crests like this come from the Mama people of northern Nigeria in the Benue River Valley. Mangam  mask represents a bush cow with open extended mouth and with marvelously sculpted horns that extend upwards in a continuous single line to be joined at their ends. When worn it is carried on the top of the dancer's head who is surrounded with a ruff of grasses extending from the bottom of the mask that hides the dancer. Mangam masks dance during festivals celebrating funerals and during the yearly agricultural cycle. Mangam masks of this quality and condition rarely come onto the market and this mask or head crest modeled in clay represents a tradition that is rarely seen today. The uniqueness and present condition of this head crest warrants a strong presence within a collection and should be placed in a museum collection.

Recommended Reading:

Sieber, R. & Tony Vevers, “Interaction: the art styles of the Benue River Valley and East Nigeria”. 1974.

Sieber, Roy. Sculpture of Northern Nigeria, 1961