Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back
Currently shown

Agbogho Mmwo Mask

Location

NIGERIA, SOUTHEAST REGION

Culture

Igbo

Title

Agbogho Mmwo Mask

Date

Early 20th c.

Materials

Wood, pigments

Dimensions

22.4 cm (h.)

Credits

Gift of Guy Laliberté in honour of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' 150th anniversary, inv. 2011.77

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Although exclusively for men, the Mmwo secret society used masks depicting women, called agbogho mmwo (literally, “young girl’s spirit”), for their public ceremonies during the dry season or important funerals. Worn by initiates, the masks personified the presence of ancestors in choreographies similar to those in dances reserved for young women, but in exaggerated form. The narrow face would have been accentuated by the wearing of a headdress and a close-fitting, very colourful costume. The facial features, hairstyle and scarifications represent an ideal of beauty, a value indissociable from moral perfection. Among the Igbo, physical beauty is the expression of personal ethics.

Add a touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation