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Mask (Mma Ji)

Mma ji, “knife-yam,” is the best-known mask form of the Afikpo, an eastern Igbo subgroup. Its name refers to the top part of the mask, which resembles a knife or machete. It appears at performances known as okumkpa, which may involve up to one hundred masqueraders who participate in skits, songs, and dances that offer sometimes satirical and critical commentary on community members and events. Mma ji performers also appear at an elaborate parade known as nenji, an event that begins the dry season festival.

Igbo peoples (Afikpo subgroup), Nigeria
Mask (Mma Ji)
20th century
Wood, pigment, fiber
H. 14 ¾ in. (37.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Roy and Sophia Sieber, 85.73