College of LAS « Illinois

Secrets of Spurlock

A mask

Although worn and danced by a man, this African object symbolizing beauty represents the spirits of deceased maidens and mothers.

What is it?

Answer: An Igbo Mmwo Society Mask, also known as a maiden spirit mask. This mask embodies ideals of youthful feminine beauty among the Igbo in southeastern Nigeria.

Image: Mmwo Society (Agboho Mmwo) Mask (2000.13.0008), courtesy of the Spurlock Museum.