African art > African mask > Masque Ijo
This African zoomorphic crest mask, evoking a sawfish, was carved to honor Bini Oru, spirit of water, during masquerades owu. It was fixed horizontally on the top of the skull. A similar removable figure, in miniature, was placed on his back.
Patine mate, dry, use of polychromy.
Ijo masks are creatures born of the imagination that are usually related to aquatic life. Indeed, the Ijo-Kalabari living mainly from fishing and their small villages located in swampy areas, their cosmogony naturally centered around this environment.
Their masks and other artistic productions are intended to honor aquatic spirits, oro, whom they worship and to whom sacrifices were intended. Fishermen had to be careful not to offend these spirits or they could kill their wrath by means of the ...