Pre-Order your iPhone 6 case now!

Mask, Urhobo peoples, Nigeria, Early to mid-20th century, Wood, pigment, encrustation

Masks of this type are used in masquerades performed at festivals to honor Urhobo water spirits-which can be harmful or beneficial-that journey upriver from the Niger River delta.

This mask represents a beneficial spirit associated with the ideal beauty of a young woman or bride.

The mask’s superstructure mimics the elaborately beaded, crowned and crested coiffure worn by Urhobo brides.

The short vertical wood projections across the upper forehead represent the silver hairpins set into the lower parts of a young bride’s crown. The gracefully curved horns projecting from the top of the head are described simply as horns or as embellishments of the coiffure.

Location
A bulk of the Urhobo people reside in the south western state of Delta in Nigeria also referred to as the Niger Delta. Many live in the Ughelli local government region and in Warri and Ethiope,and in Okpe and Sapele Local Government Areas. Their language is also called Urhobo which is a sub-group of the Edo language which is also spoken by the Bini people (Benin-city).

CultureThe Urhobos live very close to and sometimes on the surface of the Niger river. As such, most of their histories, mythologies, and philosophies are water-related. They have an annual fishing festival that includes masquerades, fishing, swimming contests, and dancing. There is also an annual, two-day, Ohworu festival in the southern part of the Urhobo area at which the Ohworhu water spirit and the Eravwe Oganga are displayed.

The king in an Urhobo clan or kingdom is called the Ovie. His wife the queen is called Ovieya and his children Ọmọ Ovie (child of the king also known as prince and princes). Often nowadays, these names are also given to children without royal heritage by their parents. A number of Urhobo sub-groups have other titles other than Ovie, for example, the Okpe called their traditional ruler Orogie and Olomu called theirs Ohworode and Okere-Urhobo theirs Orosuen.

Marriage
Marriage is the union between man and woman which is culturally and morally acceptable in a society. Before marriage in Urhobo culture is said to be properly contracted, prayer’s must be offered to the ancestors(Erivwin) and God(Oghene). The marriage ritual known as Udi Arhovwaje takes place in the ancestral home of the girl or a patrilineal relation of the girl as agreed by the family.

On an agreed day, the fiance goes with his relatives and friends to the fiancee’s father’s home carrying drinks, salt,kolanut and things required from him by the girls family for the marriage ceremony.

It is on that day that the girl’s parents give their formal approval to the marriage and pour the gin brought by the fiance as libation to the father’s ancestors to bless them with health, children and wealth. It is only after this marriage rites that the husband can claim a refund of money (bride price) if the marriage breaks down. It is believed that the ancestors were a witness to the marriage.

It is only the physical body that is sent to her husband in the marriage, her Erhi(spirit double) remain in family home. This explains why she is brought back to her family home when she dies. In the ancestral home of the man, the wife is welcomed into the family by the eldest member of the family. Here she was expected to confess all her love affairs during and after her betrothal to her husband (if any) and she can now be absolved from all her wrong doings. Henceforth, she becomes a full member of her husband’s family and is now protected by the Erivwin.

This rites symbolizes an agreement between the wife and Erivwin. If the wife later proves unfaithful she will be punished by the supernatural(Erivwin) and this is believed to be the reason why married Urhobo women are very faithful to their husbands.
Source:Wikipedia, Flickr

Digital Art
Photoshop CS5

Special thanx to deviantart.com Stock:
Marbled_Paint_Blue_Texture_by_Enchantedgal_Stock
Fountain_Water_Texture_2_by_FantasyStock

Public Domain Image:
399px-UrhoboMask

FEATURED IN WITCHES WIZARDS AND WARLOCKS

Tags

urhobo, africa, african, niger, nigeria, mask, wedding, water, tribal, history

I knew I wanted to be an artist at age 4 (Full story: Click on full portfolio, Click on my name)

I am permanently disabled and work at home. Previously, I have been employed as Art Director at California Manufacturers Association and Production Artist at SMW Communications of Sacramento CA.

I studied art at The Academy of Art in San Francisco 1977-79
Mediums:
Oils. Acrylics. Watercolors. Pastels. Inks. Charcoals. Graphites.

Currently I am focused and self taught in Digital Art.

View Full Profile

Comments

  • andy551
    andy551over 3 years ago

    beautiful, excellent work. Outstanding details, lighting and composition.

  • THANX EVER SO KINGLY DEAR ANDY…:)

    – Tammera

  • Hugh Fathers
    Hugh Fathersover 3 years ago

    Superb!! . . .

  • THANK YOU SO KINDLY DEAR HUGH…:)

    – Tammera

  • Norma-jean Morrison
    Norma-jean Mor...over 3 years ago

    THIS BEAUTIFUL WRITE…HOW GOOD THIS IS, AND YOUR ART JUST SO BEAUTIFUL AND EXACTLY WHAT THEY WEAR………BEAUTIFUL ALL LOVE ALWAYS NORMA-JEAN.

  • THANX SO MUCH DEAR NORMA-JEAN…:)

    – Tammera

  • AndyGii
    AndyGiiover 3 years ago

    Fabulous work Tammera xx

  • THANX SO VERY MUCH DEAR ANDY…:)

    – Tammera

  • BasantSoni
    BasantSoniover 3 years ago

    Incredibly composed..!!

  • THANK YOU BASANT…:)

    – Tammera

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 3 years ago

    well done on this tammera and interesting read !LIz

  • OH THANK YOU SO MUCH DEAR LIZ…
    SO GLAD YOU ENJOYED THE INFORMATION ALSO…:)

    – Tammera

  • Kathy Baccari
    Kathy Baccariover 3 years ago

  • THANKS KINDLY KATHY…. :-)

    – Tammera

  • Keith Reesor
    Keith Reesorover 3 years ago

    Amazing!! :)

  • THANX EVER SO KINDLY DEAR KEITH… :-)

    – Tammera

  • Druidstorm
    Druidstormover 3 years ago

    Love the info! And the image is fascinating! Bravo!!!…)o(

  • AWWW…SO GLAD YOU LIKE…;)
    THANX KINDLY DEAR DRUID…:)

    – Tammera

  • Dawnsky2
    Dawnsky2over 3 years ago

    Congratulations

  • FEATURE!!!
    THANK YOU SO KINDLY THIS IS A WONDERFUL HONOR!!…;)

    – Tammera

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait