Igbo Ijele Mask

The Igbo Ijele Mask appears every 25 years and is a reflection of grandeur and achievement. It can be up to 6 metres tall and is visually amazing; it has elements of man, the supernatural, and animals and the forest. It is a collection of prestigious art and is seen as beautiful and awe-inspiring. Aniakor conveys how it is analogous to the elephant, who is the most powerful of the animal kingdom and moves with dignity and grace. I thought the imagery of it being compared to the guinea fowl whose feather, however hard it is rained on, cannot lose its specks, was really cool.

It is therefore ‘ultimately an artistic projection of the Igbo ideal of achievement… (and) authority’, this shows what is considered to be the accomplishment of the Igbo people. They strive towards this end of authoritarian, efficacious beauty, and the mask reflects this desire.

Another striking aspect of the mask is how it supposed to dramatize parallels with the living and the dead and to create this idea of a continuum between the two.  It is about not forgetting their dead ancestors and about unifying their tribe with pride and a sense of happiness through their past inclinations.

It was interesting how they had an orchestra and that the mask would move and then stop in order to create anticipation for its audience, it is a most revered occasion and was really interesting to read about! 

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