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African Art
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Mask Representing a Maiden Spirit

early 20th century

Cleistopholis wood

10 × 6 × 4 1/2 in. (25.4 × 15.24 × 11.43 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn for the Linton Collection of African Art
This mask was featured on the cover of a booklet published for the exhibition The Linton Collection of African Sculpture, held at Yale University Art Gallery in 1954. Though the mask would have been performed by a man, its fine facial features represent the Igbo ideal of feminine beauty. The carved patterns in low relief represent uli painting, an art of body adornment that is the exclusive prerogative of Igbo women.
Made in Awka-Onitsha, Nigeria, Guinea Coast
On view
Igbo, Onitsha subgroup
20th century

Dr. Ralph Linton, Sterling Professor of Anthropology at Yale, unknown date–1953
Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn donated to Yale University Art Gallery for the Linton Collection of African Art in 1954

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.