Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

maiden mask
  • Igbo peoples
  • maiden mask, mid 1900s
  • Where object was made: Nigeria
  • wood, paint, metal, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: a) 39 x 27 x 8 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: a) 15 3/8 x 10 5/8 x 3 1/8 in
    Object Height/Width/Length: b) 21 x 13 x 19.5 cm
    Object Height/Width/Length: b) 8 1/4 x 5 1/8 x 7 11/16 in
    Object Height/Diameter: c) 22.5 x 7.5 cm
    Object Height/Diameter: c) 8 7/8 x 2 15/16 in
  • Gift of Larry W. Welling
  • Not on display
  • 2007.2820.a,b,c

The mask of a human-like face (2007.2820.a) has a superstructure of a box (2007.2820.b) and peg (2007.2820.c).

The face is white with small slits for eyes and black eyebrows with a black curlicue above, each with a red dot in the center. The nose has a black line down the center and around the bottom. The oval mouth has a red rim. There is a large projection from the top of the head, of three stacked ridges, which point down at the ends. The middle portion is stationary, the sides move, affixed by 1-2 nails. This element is white, red and black.

The rectangular box that sits atop the projection has a black field and four peg-like projections on the top, one at each edge. Two of the pegs are red, one orange, and one is white with a red top. There is a round hole in the top center to accomodate the large peg-like part. The long sides have circle and triangle cut-outs, outlined with white or red. The short sides have a zigzag cutout (one outlined with white) and blue or red triangles in the space around the zigzag. There are white outlines on each surface of the box.

The large peg-like piece has a narrow portion that flares slightly at one end and a large knob at the other end. The flared portion is not decorated. The narrow portion is painted with orange and green vertical stripes, the knob is black and there is an orange ring between.