Among the Kalabari Ijo peoples, who live in the delta area of the lower Niger River in Nigeria, important rituals honor and appease water spirits, who were believed responsible for ensuring the Ijo's food supply and their fertility. This wooden mask represents one of these water spirits, otobo (hippopotamus). When worn the mask was positioned on the top of the head and decorated with feathers and cloth.
African masks were used not only for enternainment and ceremony but also to bring the powers of the wild bush and swamps into the civilized area of town and village so that humans can interact with them and use their dangerous forces and social ends. Characters commonly inbolbed in such powerful masquerades are wild beasts, spirits, foreigners, witches or the dead.
This object is part of "Scan The World". Scan the World is a non-profit initiative introduced by MyMiniFactory, through which we are creating a digital archive of fully 3D printable sculptures, artworks and landmarks from across the globe for the public to access for free. Scan the World is an open source, community effort, if you have interesting items around you and would like to contribute, email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help.