Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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agbogho mmuo mask, ??
  • unknown Onitsha maker
  • agbogho mmuo mask, ??, late 1800s
  • Where object was made: Nigeria
  • wood, paint, cloth, plant fiber, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 116 x 37 x 38 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 45 11/16 x 14 9/16 x 14 15/16 in
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kenneth Palmer
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3169
Label Text

The helmet style mask has a human-like face with a large and elaborate superstructure. There is a ruff of plant fiber with wide strips of red cloth over the top.

The face of the primary head is white with black eyebrows, slanted scars on the cheeks and at the sides of the mouth. There is a patch of harlequin pattern anterior to both ears. The lips are red. There is a thick red band around the neck. The hairstyle has a raised scalloped edge, mostly black, but with some red.

It has a very elaborately carved superstructure.

The front, above the forehead is a seated figure with a staff in his left hand. He wears a conical headdress with a net-like design, a yellow, red and green robe, large red necklace and a second necklace with a skull below the red necklace.

The front, to the seated figure's right is a standing couple engaged in intercourse. Both are red, with the exception of the man's left leg, which is yellow. Both have black hair and details on the face. There is a figure behind the couple. It has a red baboon-like head with a black snout with grooves along its length, and flat round ears on the sides of the head. The "body" is dome-like with widely spaced vertical lines. Round "hands" hold a staff on either side.

The front, to the seated figure's left is a standing figure with a yellow drape with red and green dots. There is a small round headdress with vertical ridges. The figure's arms are held at his chest, his left hand holding a silver hammer-like object. Silver fringe is indicated at the bottom of the drape.

The proper left of the superstructure depicts two figures riding a silver motorcycle. Both wear a green top with black trousers. The rear figure wears a yellow satchel over his chest. The figures have red faces and arms.

The proper right of the superstructure depicts a small brown elephant with its trunk raised.

The rear, above the primary head's spine is a standing woman with white skin and a red and yellow skirt, holding a round object with both hands in front of her low abdomen. The second standing figure behind is wearing a green headdress and a green and yellow robe. It has a red face.

The rear, to the standing figure's left is a standing woman with yellow skin and a green skirt holding a pot on top of her head, supported with both arms. The seated figure with white shirt and green trousers is playing a drum with his left hand. His right hand has a hole and may have once held something.

The rear, to the standing figure's right depicts a standing figure with a yellow and red dress and a pillbox-like hat. There is a turtle below.

The top center is a human head with a red face and a simple black hairstyle. It has a very long neck with white spots. There is a long beaked bird on either side, with beaks pointed downward. The top of the head and the top of the beak are yellow with dark green spots. There is a red line at the "lips" that continues down the neck. The neck and the bottom of the beak is dark green with white spots.