Ghost masquerades of the Benue River Valley

In the spirit of halloween, a video featuring 7 ghost masquerades from Nigeria. Read more about them in chapter 3, The Ancestral Masquerade: A Paradigm of Benue Valley Art History, of the exhibition catalogue of Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley.

Details about this video:

Total Running Time: 15 minutes, 20 seconds

Ekwula masquerade
Idoma peoples
Igumale town
Documented by Sidney Littlefield Kasfir, 1989
Super-8 film; 31 seconds

Egwu Afia masquerade
Igala peoples
Abocho town
Documented by Olobo-Ojo and His Royal Highness, the Onu Abocho (Ayidu), Alhaji Tijani Okutachi, 2010
Video; 1 minute, 51 seconds

Akwujane masquerade
Igala peoples
Onyedega town
Documented by Constanze Weise, 2010
Video; 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Aja masquerade
Okpella peoples
Ogute town
Documented by Jean Borgatti, 2003
Video; 3 minutes, 30 seconds

Omeshe masquerade
Okpella peoples
Afokpella town
Documented by Jean Borgatti, 2003
Video; 1 minute, 50 seconds

Alabala Omo Egungun masquerade
Awori-Yoruba peoples
Ota town
Documented by John Thabiti Willis, 2004
Video; 36 seconds

Ndako Gboya masquerade
Nupe peoples
Kusogi village
Documented by Constanze Weise, 2000
Video; 4 minutes, 42 seconds


The Cobbs, 27 April 2013 – a Mende sleeper

Under the direction of Scott Rodolitz this New Hampshire auction house recently had its first African art sale. You can download the catalogue here.

Of particular importance in this auction was a rare Mende staff with an early documented provenance. It was brought to Canada from Africa by Capt. J.L. Boddy and presented to E.D. Manchee in 1907 (as stated by his 1925 will). Only a handful of these staffs are currently known, most of them being much younger than this one. It sold for $ 10,800.

Mende staff Cobbs
Mende staff Cobbs head

UPDATE: Christie’s will be selling another early collected (ca. 1885) Mende staff next month.

In the same auction two nice Nupe posts (mounted upside down) remained unsold with an estimate of $ 900- 1,200.

Nupe posts Cobbs

(all images courtesy of The Cobbs)