Igbo Mmwo (Maiden Spirit) Mask
Igbo Mmwo masks are worn by men to remember the spirits of the beautiful girls who have passed away. According to different sources, the Mmwo masks are highly exaggerated, with braided hairstyles and costumes worn with the mask. The face usually has female features. For many African societies, these practices are for ancestral spirituality. For the Igbo people, life is a cycle that moves from birth to death, passing through the spiritual world. They believe that death is a transition from the human world to the spiritual world.

The mask forms a large community of souls. According to Tribal African Art, characteristically Igbo Mmwo masks are painted with white chalk, which is the color of the spirits. Also, the dancers wear very elaborate costumes, sometimes with mirrors ornamenting the costume. These masks are used for many different reasons, such as social satires, sacred rituals, initiation, second burials, and public festivals. (RB)

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