Igala Mask

The Igala Mask is made by the Igala people who live in southeastern Nigeria, where the Niger and Benue rivers meet. They are known for their helmet masks of lightweight, brown wood, richly decorated with lines in relief. These crest mask represent ‘Egu’, the spirit of the dead, and are used during harvest festivals.

$ 14,196

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The Igala are an ethnic group of Nigeria. Their homeland, the former Igala Kingdom, is an approximately triangular area of about 14,000 km2 in the angle formed by the Benue and Niger rivers. The area was formerly the Igala Division of Kabba province, and is now part of Kogi State. The capital is Idah. In addition to Kogi state, indigenous Igalas are found in Anambra, Benue, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Nasarawa, Niger states.

 

Igala mask
Igala Mask
Igala Mask
Igala Mask

The Igala mega state attained the height of its fame during the mid-17th century. The rise of the Igala mega state disrupted and contributed to the shift of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade from the Bight of Benin to the Bight of Biafra and the decline of the Benin Empire between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Idah-Benin war (1515-1516) was a war of mutual independence. The Igala state reached its political and commercial supremacy afterwards, when it became a leading exporter of choral beads, horses, medicine, skills and of course, slaves to the coastal region. Its growing power, nevertheless, changed the dynamics of the earlier complex relationships with several northern Igbo communities. Joseph Hawkins in 1797 already captured raidings of some extreme northern Igboland by the Igalas.

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Igala Artisan

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