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Mask

Accession Number
1985/1.148

Title
Mask

Artist(s)
Ibibio

Artist Nationality
Ibibio

Object Creation Date
circa 1940

Medium & Support
wood, egg, and shell

Dimensions
14 11/16 in x 8 1/4 in x 6 11/16 in (37.31 cm x 20.96 cm x 16.99 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Lydia Johnstone


Subject matter
Ekpo, the Ibibio word for 'ancestor', was also the name of the most important men's society, called Ekpo Nyoho. Usually shortened to just Ekpo, the society had governmental, judicial, and economic functions. Masks used for festivals and masquerades for Ekpo were either dark colored masks called idiok, or light colored masks called mfon. Such masks were thought to evoke both benign and malevolent ancestors, which were responsible for protecting their descendants. 

References Cited: 
Cole, Herbert M. 2012. Invention and Tradition: The Art of Southeastern Nigeria. Munich: Prestel. 

Physical Description
Large, ovoid mask with a dark patina. The forehead of the face is raised, sloping down to a short, broad nose. The eyes are formed by two cresent shapes separated by a rectangle. On each cheek are three raised marks in a vertical line. The mouth is closed and may be moveable. 

Primary Object Classification
Sculpture

Primary Object Type
mask

Collection Area
African

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
ancestors
masquerades
social institutions
societies

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved