TITLE: Ijo Stingray Crest Mask
TYPE: crest mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
DESCRIPTION: Stingray Water Spirit Crest Mask
CEREMONY: Celebration; Spirit Invocation
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: cane; pigment
Among the animistic Ijo (also known as Ijaw) people of southeastern Nigeria, both land and water spirits pervade the world. The Ijo are a large ethnic group comprised of 12 to 15 million persons. They are primarily fishers and farmers. The Ijo consider water spirits in particular benevolent to humans, and the Ijo have festivals celebrating and invoking the beneficence of many individual spirits, including the hippopotamus, crocodile, swordfish, and python. This mask is worn atop the head and represents a stingray.