A fine Yoruba headdress


A fine Yoruba headdress
okooro, for the Agbo masquerade
Carved as a head with painted and engraved scarification, hatched upper eyelids, filed teeth to the pointed open mouth, the elaborate coiffure dressed as two long pointed lateral tufts and one small one above the bifurcated tuft at the back, black and red pigments, on domed base, old mends
48cm. high
Eisenhofer, S., Kulte, Künstler, Könige in Africa. Tradition under Moderne in Südnigeria, Linz, 1997
Schädler, K.-F., Götter Geister Ahnen, Munich, 1994, p.17
Vienna, 1994, Götter Geister Ahnen

Lot Essay

The town having been 'swept clean' by the jigbo masqueraders dressed in their brightly coloured cloth, three days later the heralds of the water spirits, okooro, appear. Dressed as elegant women in finely woven mats and with elaborate coiffures, okooro wear masks similar to the present one or others like those worn for gelede. They parade through the streets greeting important members of the community and making offerings at shrines, accompanied by songs and rhythms beaten on a hollow tortoiseshell, before they arrive at the water's edge to call the water spirits for the Agbo festival. The latter arrive in a boat and the rites are fully described by Henry Drewal in his article 'Flaming Crowns, Cooling Waters. Masquerades of the Ijebu Yoruba' (African Arts, Vol.XX, No.1, November 1986, pp.32-41). He illustrates a similar mask to the present on p.36, fig.8

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