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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Masks and symbols in masquerade performances among the Tiv of central Nigeria
Author:Abuku, MnenaISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:African Performance Review
Volume:2
Issue:1
Pages:19-28
Language:English
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:masquerades
masks
Tiv
Abstract:This article examines the history and meanings of masquerade performances among the Tiv of Benue state, central Nigeria. It briefly surveys the role of Tiv religion and world view before describing the evolution of Tiv masquerade traditions. Tiv masquerades evolved from the 'Akume', a highly religious performance, through 'Ajigbe', devoid of all religious connotations, and 'Ijov-Mbakuv', to the 'Mami Wata' masquerade which was introduced by the Igbo. The Mami Wata masquerade now co-exists with the Ijov-Mbakuv, and both masquerades are occasionally performed together. The article goes on to describe the symbolism of the Tiv face masks and their functions, which go well beyond their aesthetic qualities. A significant function of the masks is their ability to humanize mysterious elements of the Tiv universe. This demystification process contributes to reducing tensions arising in the community from fears of various spirits. Masquerade performances depict a community's beliefs and experiences, thereby creatively reinterpreting them. Bibliogr., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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