TITLE: Ogoni Helmet Mask
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
COUNTRY: Nigeria
ETHNICITY: Ogoni
DESCRIPTION: Helmet Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Entertainment
AGE: ca. 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; cloth straps

The Ogoni people have managed to maintain much of their precolonial culture, including their masquerading traditions.

Masks are used by the Ogoni for many purposes.  Some are mainly for entertainment, and this may be one such mask.  This exceptionally large helmet (measuring 49 cm tall and 31 cm wide) would give the appearance of an oversized head on the dancer’s body.  Atop the head is a bowl, in which the dancer would probably put fruit.  Like women in many developing countries, Ogoni women balance heavy loads skillfully on their heads to reduce the burden on their arms.