Mumuye live in northeastern Nigeria, on the left bank of the Benue River. They cultivate sorghum, millet, and yams. Due to the difficulty of access to their lands of rocky hills and savannas, the Mumuye remained in near total isolation until the end of 1950th. Few facts were known about them before the 1960s.
Mumuye artists are famous for their unusual wooden statues discovered only in 1968. These figures always display elongated body features. Even though the Mumuye show great respect for the ancestors, their statuary does not depict ancestors but rather incarnates tutelary spirits. It was not unusual for a figure or a mask to simultaneously to serve two or more functions.
The Mumuye distinguish the gender of the figures and masks on the basis of the shape of the ears; only Mumuye women distend their earlobes. This may be the only clue to determining the gender of a figure. Therefore, we believe that this is a male mask.