Igbo Mmwo (Maiden Spirit) Mask
This mask is an Mmwo Society Maiden Spirit mask that represents beautiful women who have died. It is carved from a single piece of wood and is similar to other female masks of that region with its white face and small feminine features, which contrast strongly to the large crude features of the male spirit masks. The white face represents not only the world of the spirits, but also the benevolence, prestige, and purity associated with women. The masks are topped with high, exaggerated hairstyles that further emphasize the beauty and fertility of women. The hair of this particular mask has been adorned with a bright head wrap, braids, and a female figure at the very top. The mouth of the piece also creates a strong presence with its broad smile and teeth.
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