This is a fabulous vintage African Mask - it dates to the 1940s / mid-20th Century - and it is certainly more of a specialist collector's item.
As you can see from my photographs, it is in the most excellent condition with no major losses and generally nice and clean too.
This mask comes from my own personal collection - and I have owned it for many years.
This mask is made of vegetable fibres woven together and decorated with red Abrus seeds and tufts of cotton.
It was made by the Koro / Angas people in Northern Nigeria, who would have worn these masks to cover the entire head and would have accompanied a billowing cloth robe as part of a masquerade. These masks would have been traditionally worn for rituals performed by the Jankai secret society.
Height: 11 ½ inches and the width is 7 ½ inches. Weight 720 grams.
A museum label describes these masks as follows:
“This dance mask comes from the Ngass, or Angas, people located in the Plateau State region of northeastern Nigeria. The mask is made of plant fibers woven together and decorated with red abrus seeds and tufts of cotton. The mask is meant to cover the entire head and was likely worn with a billowing cloth robe to complete the masquerade. A mask such as this was possibly used as part of a masquerade for a men’s secret society. The design of this mask and use of red abrus seeds for decoration is extremely similar to the masks used for the Jankai masquerade by the Hausa and other groups within the Plateau State. Jankai is a men’s secret society, and the name is a Hausa word meaning “Red Head”. Jankai appears at harvest-time dressed in a red helmet mask and billowing cloth garment.”
Please note: that the Abrus berries which cover this mask are poisonous if consumed. So perhaps this mask should be confined to a house with no children or animals - to be on the safe side - and they are hung up on display, or of reach.
These vintage African masks are now very collectable and hard to find. Examples are in the British Museum, London, and in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Postage would be to UK addresses only.