Lot: 305

87th Tribal Art Auction

Bush cow mask

Nigeria, Mumuye

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
H: 19.7 inch 1500 EUR
plus 27 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, kaolin, red pigment, of typical massive form, carved with a big snout, forehead crest and strong horns, min. dam., missing parts (horn tips), fine cracks, paint rubbed off, base.
Secret societies in groups all along the Benue employ horizontal masks representing bush cows and other animals. The general concept of the mask seems to be to place powerful and aggressive bush creatures at the service of human society and to provide protection for crops and man. They may also appear at important ceremonies such as installations and funerals of chiefs and secret-society initiations.

Schädler, Karl-Ferdinand, Lexikon Afrikanische Kunst und Kultur, München, Berlin 1994, p. 288