Mask (Mgbedike)

mid-20th century

African Art

On view, 1st floor, African Art

Igbo wood carvers create elaborate masks that are worn during performances intended to venerate and communicate with the dead. This mask type, Mgbedike, means "time of the brave," and it depicts a fearful and aggressive character. Horns and spikes protrude from the openwork superstructure, which incorporates a number of different wild animals, such as leopards, snakes, and monkeys. This mask would have been worn by a middle-aged man while dancing at community gatherings and festivals.


Wood and paint


44 × 15 × 19 in. (111.76 × 38.1 × 48.26 cm)

Credit Line

Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection

Accession Number



20th century


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 records is ongoing.



Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • Frederick John Lamp, Amanda Maples, and Laura M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 76, 223, fig. 20.
  • "Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.
  • Sarah Adams, Call and Response: Journeys of African Art, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2000), 50, fig. 28.
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

ceremonial objects, masks (costume)

Technical metadata and APIs


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