MSSU African Art Exibit : The MSSU African Art collection features a variety of authentic works of art from various tribes located throughout Central Africa. The objects in the collection range from mundane day to day grooming tools to ritualistic masks and statues.
Igbo Alusi Standing Female Figure
Object Name:
Figure, Standing, Female
Other Name:
Figure, Female, Alusi, Igbo
Place of Origin:
Igbo, The Niger River Delta, Nigeria, Africa
Aboriginal Indigenous Art.
H = 53"
W = 10"
D = 11"

The outstanding characteristic of the many Igbo masks and statues is that they are painted chalk white, the color of the spirit. Masked dancers wore extremely elaborate costumes (sometimes ornamented with mirrors) and often their feet and hands were covered. With their masks, the Igbo oppose beauty to bestiality, the feminine to the masculine, black to white. The masks, of wood or fabric, are employed in a variety of dramas: social satires, sacred rituals (for ancestors and invocation of the gods), initiation, second burials, and public festivals, which now include Christmas and Independence Day. Some masks appear at only one festival, but the majority appear at many or all. Best known are those of the Northern Ibo mmo society, which represent the spirits of deceased maidens and their mothers with masks symbolizing beauty. Among the Southern Ibo, the ekpe society, introduced from the Cross River area, uses contrasting masks to represent the maiden spirit and the elephant spirit, the latter representing ugliness and aggression and the former representing beauty and peacefulness. A similar contrast is found in their okorosia masks, which correspond to the mmo of the Northern Ibo. The Eastern Ibo are best known for masquerades associated with the harvest festival, in which the forms of the masks are determined by tradition, though the content of the play varies from year to year. Stock characters include Mbeke, the European; Mkpi, the he—goat; and Mba, which appear in pairs, one representing a boy dressed as a girl mimicking the behavior of a girl, the other representing the girl being satirized.
Tall standing wooden, female Igbo Statue. Oval—shaped face with small circular inset eyes and wedge—shaped nose over slightly protruding mouth, with visible grooved teeth. Large D—shaped ears with dark brown helmet—like headdress, covering forehead, sides of face and back of head, coming to a tall flat ridge over top center of head and running down back center of head to upper neck area. Long cylindrical neck, pointed breasts, with arms carved away from body and upturned hands at waist area. Long straight cylindrical legs, with circular feet and grooved toes. Dark brown scarification over top shoulders area, and oval—shaped scarification over abdomen, coming to a rectangular bottom. Dark brown flat, braclet and anklet areas over wrists and ankles, with white paint or patina over all other body surfaces.
Guy Mace Collection, (Turblex Company)
Wood W/Paint or Patina
Ritually Used
Carving / Painting
Art Department, Missouri Southern State University
Click to Enlarge
Right Side ViewRight Side View
Right Side View - 2Right Side View - 2
Right Side View - 3Right Side View - 3
Left Side ViewLeft Side View
Left Side View - 2Left Side View - 2
Left Side View - 3Left Side View - 3
Rear ViewRear View
Rear View - 2Rear View - 2