This is a wonderful custom mask of Asoro the Warrior. We asked Owie to make 5 new masks for us, of his choosing, of which this is one.
Asoro was the sword bearer to King Oronramwen (the Oba of Benin) in 1897. During the invasion by Britain there was a war that led to the Benin Massacre in 1897-1898. Asoro, as a loyal subject to the Oba involved himself in the war single handedly taking on the British Army with a few men thru gorilla warfare. Later he was captured, tried, condemned, and executed.
He is a symbol of strength, courage, and patriotism. In honor of his courage and the hope of emancipation he gave to the Benin people before his capture a monument was erected right in the center of Benin City at Ring-Road, close to the government secretariat.
I love the resolute expression on his face. You will notice the nine charms sewn onto his garment. Each of these charms would contain something designed to give him extra powers in battle. It might be a piece of bone, a cola nut, or some other item with specific ability enhancing purpose.
This substantial mid-sized mask stands 18 inches tall and weighs an amazing 7 pounds. Carefully carved in dark ebony it is a wonderful example of Owie's work.
During my last trip to Nigeria Owie told me his going to be cutting back and not carving as much. I am sad to hear that, although I should be able to get a few more quality pieces from him before he finally retires. He has been apprenticing a few younger artists, including his son. I hope we will begin to see some of their work as well soon.
Price - $300.00
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